Sustainable Seafood - What, Why & How

What is sustainable seafood?

Sustainable seafood is harvested in a way that affects the larger marine ecosystem as little as possible. Sustainable fishing practices ensure the continuing health and long term viability of the individual species.

Why should I eat sustainable seafood?

There is a growing awareness and desire among consumers to purchase sustainably caught seafood.

Making the choice to buy and eat sustainable seafood is an easy way to be environmentally responsible. Whether you are a chef who includes sustainable seafood on your menu or an individual who purchases it, making this simple choice makes a difference. When enough people buy sustainable seafood, it sends a message to government and industry leaders that collectively, we support responsible fishing practices. Making these choices today will help ensure our children will be able to enjoy the wonders of our oceans for generations to come.


How do fishing practices affect the environment?

Two of the main problems facing the fishing industry today are overfishing and bycatch.

Overfishing is the biggest threat to the seafood industry. When a species declines, due to overfishing, it can have a very negative impact on the marine food chain. Large and predatory fish can become threatened as their ability to feed declines. Some scientists believe that if sustainable fishing practices are not widely adopted there will be a global fisheries collapse. It is suggested this could happen as soon as 2048.

Bycatch is the term used to describe any marine species that has been accidentally caught due to the method of fishing.  These unintended catches can include small or juvenile fish, the wrong sex or even an entirely different species. Some species like whales, dolphins, seabirds, sharks and turtles are threatened and vulnerable, making bycatch an urgent issue of fishery sustainability.

These are some of the reasons Ocean’s is committed to help drive an increase in sustainable fishing.

What Is Ocean Brands Doing to Be More Sustainable?

At Ocean Brands, our policy is to fish tuna only from regions that maintain sustainable numbers. We identify these regions by ensuring that governments, fisheries management organizations and international tuna fleets are working together to maintain the sustainability of these species.

Ocean’s offers a wide variety of Free Swimming caught (FAD FREE) light tuna and Pole & Line tuna products.

What is FAD free?

A FAD or fish aggregating device is equipment used to attract ocean going fish like tuna, mahi-mahi or marlin.  FAD’s are often floats or buoys tied to concrete blocks on the bottom of the ocean. All species of fish and marine life are attracted to these floating man-made objects. They may use them to mark mating locations or as a means to provide some protection for their young.  As many different species can be attracted to FAD’s, their use can result in substantial bycatch and overfishing.

All Ocean's Albacore tuna products are long line caught using 100% circle hooks or Pole & Line caught.

Studies on the use of circle hooks in the long line fishing industry have been very promising. For instance, circular hooks are much less likely to be swallowed by turtles than the traditional J-shaped hooks. Circle hooks can significantly reduce bycatch without reducing the rate of the tuna catch.

We are proud to offer the largest selection of pole and line caught tuna in Canada. Pole and line fishing offers several sustainable advantages. In this traditional fishing method, fish are caught one by one allowing fishermen to be highly selective. Accidentally caught species can usually be returned to the ocean unharmed. Often, species specific bait is used in pole and line fishing. This not attractive to the wrong species which keeps overfishing and bycatch to a minimum.    

All Sockeye Salmon products (Ocean’s and Gold Seal) are Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) approved.

MSC certified seafood bears a blue MSC label which makes it easy to choose products that are certified sustainable. The certification involves a rigorous vetting process that ensures best fishing practices and chain of custody traceability. The Chain of Custody Standard ensures the blue MSC label is only displayed on seafood that's traceable to an MSC certified sustainable fishery.

These guidelines have been developed through consultation with leading scientists, conservationists and the fishing industry.

Doing our part by adopting sustainability policies is very important to us. It is our hope we will all continue to enjoy the ocean’s abundance for generations to come while preserving this amazing, beautiful ecosystem.