Canada's Fishing Industry Marks World Oceans Day With Marine Stewardship Council Success

VANCOUVER  – "This Oceans Day Canadian commercial fishermen will be celebrating their growing reputation as producers of sustainable food for Canada and the world," says Christina Burridge, Executive Director, BC Seafood Alliance.  According to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), which sets internationally-recognized standards for measuring the sustainability of wild-capture fisheries, over two-thirds of Canadian fisheries are engaged in the MSC program.   Jay Lugar, MSC Program Director in Canada notes, "This makes Canada one of the top 10 sustainable fishing countries in the world."

On the West Coast, Burridge notes that MSC certification is now required by most European and North American seafood customers, including the Loblaw chain.   Other BC fisheries like groundfish trawl have taken equally pioneering approaches, partnering directly with conservation groups to protect habitat, including corals and sponges, and leading the world in full accounting of all catch.  "Consumers buying Canadian wild seafood can be assured that it either comes from an MSC-certified fishery or one that abides by other responsible fishing practices," she said.

In Burridge's view, Canada's success in the MSC and other programs depends on strong fishery science, particularly stock assessment, and a comprehensive framework for fishery management.  "The one thing we ask for from government—any government—is a commitment to funding fishery science and a fair and equitable means for industry to contribute to that funding so that we can maintain certification for the future and bring other fisheries into the MSC program."

World Oceans Day on June 8th honours the ocean, the source of life and food.   "For fisheries," she said, "it recognizes that investing in science is investing in future harvests and future prosperity—fish now and in the future on the tables of consumers around the world."

The BC Seafood Alliance is an umbrella organization whose members represent about 90 per cent of the value of wild seafood harvested in BC worth some $850 million annually.

Source: BC Seafood Alliance