Are our oceans in trouble?

They are, and for many different reasons. Human activity puts a lot of pressure on marine animals and the places they live. Overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and climate change impacts, including ocean acidification, are the biggest threats our oceans face. On top of this, black market (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing is having devastating impacts on fisheries, particularly in tropical and subtropical regions. The good news is, choosing sustainable seafood can help reduce some of these negative impacts - or avoid them all together. 

What does ‘sustainable seafood’ mean?

Sustainable seafood is either caught in the wild or farmed in ways that maintain both the long-term health of the oceans, and the health of the species being captured. Seafood from sustainable sources also takes the wellbeing of fisheries-dependent communities into consideration.

Is ‘sustainable seafood’ the same as ‘organic seafood’?

Sustainable and organic seafood are not the same. 

If you’ve chosen a fish from a sustainable wild fishery or farm, it means that the practices used to capture or cultivate it have a minimal impact on the environment. 

Organic means a fish is raised without being exposed to chemicals, pesticides, hormones or antibiotics. It also means it has not been genetically altered or been reared on non-organic feed.

How does sustainable seafood help keep the oceans healthy?

Global fish populations are declining due to demand, overfishing, habitat destruction and climate change. When you choose certified-sustainable seafood, you’re choosing a product that maintains the health of the fish stock and the surrounding marine environment. You’re also rewarding better fishing practices. This helps keep our oceans healthy and thriving.  

How do I know if I am buying sustainable seafood?

WWF recommends choosing products with the blue Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label for wild-caught seafood, and the green Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) for farmed. 

WWF considers the MSC and ASC to be the most credible ecolabels because of their robust, science-based and transparent criteria for fisheries and farms. They are also impartial ‘third-party’ certification programs and do not assess their own fisheries or farms nor issue certificates. 

What’s a better choice – wild captured fish or farmed fish?

Both can be good choices, provided they are captured or farmed sustainably. WWF recommends choosing wild seafood certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), and farmed seafood certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC). 

What certified-sustainable seafood options are available in Canada?

There is a long list of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)-certified seafood available across Canada. Take a look at MSC’s product finder to see what’s available across the country. For ASC, tilapia and salmon are most readily available.

Where can I find certified-sustainable seafood?

Loblaw is currently the largest supplier of MSC and ASC-certified products in Canada. In collaboration with WWF, the company set an ambitious goal in 2009 to source 100% of its seafood from sustainable and responsible sources. Standing at close to 93%, Loblaw is now close to reaching that goal.

Why does WWF work on seafood?

Approximately 1 billion people around the world rely on both wild-caught and farmed seafood as their primary source of protein. Over the next 40 years, as the global population increases, seafood consumption is expected to double. As a conservation organization, WWF cares about how the rising demand for seafood is impacting—and will continue to impact—the environment and communities.

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