What WWF is doing
These efforts are focused on working with fishers, fisheries managers, seafood traders and consumers to reform commercial marine fisheries towards long-term sustainability. The goal is to have seafood harvested in a way that sustains and protects the marine environment, the species within it and the people who depend on them.
This work includes convincing major seafood buyers to insist that their suppliers source only from fisheries and aquaculture ‘farms’ that have been credibly certified. They must have earned credible environmental certification as well as credible chain-of-custody certification, which means that the product can be traced from a fish harvester’s boat to your plate.
Leveraging eco-labels like MSC to create market incentives for change is an important strategy to achieve our vision for 'sustainable seafood'. Working directly with business, to reach a large audience of consumers and a boat-to-plate supply chain, is one of the best and fastest ways to put that strategy into action.
How Loblaw’s 'sustainable seafood' commitment helps us drive changeIn May 2009, we partnered with Canada’s largest grocery retailer, Loblaw Companies Limited to advance the company’s ambitious goal of achieving 100 per cent sustainable seafood across all products in stores by the end of 2013. Learn more about Loblaw’s commitment.
Loblaw is the first retailer in Canada and the world to make such an important and all encompassing commitment to improving both wild-capture and aquaculture harvesting and, therefore, to our oceans and freshwater systems. Commitments of this nature go far beyond simply demonstrating support for 'sustainable seafood'; they actually help make the solution possible. By demanding 'sustainable seafood' for its shelves, Loblaw influences its vendors to source more responsible seafood products. It’s a domino-effect that ripples all the way down to the water. As the country’s largest purveyor of seafood, Loblaw’s demand for sustainable products has sparked innovation and helped bring a greater number and diversity of responsible seafood choices to market.
When Loblaw ultimately achieves its goal it will mean that over 30 per cent of the seafood bought and sold in Canada is sourced responsibly. More than that, Loblaw’s pledge raised the bar within Canada’s grocery community. Loblaw is making significant progress on achieving its seafood goal—with more than 70 MSC certified wild-caught seafood products on its shelves—and this, in turn, is helping WWF advance our mission.
Working with fishersAfter a decade of working with fishing communities, we know from experience that fishers must play an instrumental role in developing practical solutions for threats to sea life. As a science-based organization, WWF supports cutting-edge research on our at-risk species to better understand their habitats, behaviour and the threats they face. We also examine the state of our underwater environment — answering questions about its capacity and what a healthy, functioning ocean ecosystem should look like.
Then, we bring this information to partnerships with fishermen and work together to explore pragmatic, on-the-water solutions to address risks and grasp the potential inherent in our waters. For example, we’re supporting voluntary measures to avoid whale entanglement and smarter gear to reduce cod bycatch, so that fish stocks can recover. These are home-grown solutions that Canada can share with the world.
Banking on cod
Fisheries Improvement Project
To increase and secure the long-term sustainability of Atlantic cod in the Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) region through a FIP, WWF-Canada has partnered with Icewater Seafoods Inc. Icewater, a groundfish company based in NL and North America’s largest processor of Atlantic cod, supplies premium Atlantic cod from the NL region to companies primarily in Europe, including retailers who have pledged to source only certified sustainable seafood.
The FIP partnership builds on a collaborative approach involving participation by Newfoundland and Labrador’s Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Oceans Choice International, High Liner and the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union.
Planning a sustainable future
Instead of managing our oceans species by species and our marine industries in silos, WWF is advancing a holistic method, which uses scientific tools and mapping techniques to understand how our complex marine ecosystems are impacted by all human activities. We’re using this new perspective to influence conservation measures for the vital underwater habitats that are essential to the biodiversity in our waters and the resiliency of all sea life. Ultimately, this approach will allow us to increase the protected areas in the Canada’s waters from less than 1 per cent to at least 10 per cent by 2020.
How you can help – What to look for when you buy seafood
TIP: Take a look at our survey results on consumer demand for sustainable seafood.
When eating seafood at a restaurant, ask if it has been certified by MSC. MSC oversees the only certification system for wild-caught seafood products that has performance-based fishery and chain-of-custody traceability standards. It’s a credible, established label for environmental sustainability and seafood traceability through the entire supply chain – from harvest to point of sale.