Canadian company plans major overhaul of canned tuna, salmon product lines

Published on
May 24, 2016

Canada-based seafood company Ocean Brands is planning a major overhaul of its canned tuna and salmon product lines starting later this year in an effort to further its commitment to environmental stewardship and ethically manufactured, high-quality products.

Ocean Brands has vowed to source all of its brand's light and value-added products from vessels that utilize "free swimming" – when tuna is caught without the use of fish aggregating devices (FADs) – or pole-and-line techniques by the end of 2017. The company has also announced its commitment to acquire and label all Ocean Brands’ sockeye salmon from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-approved sources, effective for the 2016 season.

“As we strive to be a leading supplier of products that are responsibly caught and produced in a socially responsible way, Ocean’s is proud to take another important step to complete our vision of only offering our customers tuna products that are caught in ways that minimize impacts on our oceans, “ said Aidan Hughes, president of Ocean Brands, in a prepared statement. “This is a natural progression from the steps we’ve already taken to offer our customers more sustainable options.”

Among the steps Ocean Brands’ has already taken toward heightened sustainability is helping to found the International Pole and Line Foundation as an initial member in 2012, and becoming the first national brand to introduce pole- and line-caught tuna to the Canadian market. Starting in 2013, all of Ocean’s brand flavored tuna products were created using fish caught with free swimming methods; as of 2015, the company’s brand albacore products were sourced from fisheries utilizing circle hook or pole-and-line techniques.

All suppliers for Ocean Brands have signed onto the Ocean Brands’ supplier code of conduct, which the company has been enforcing by retaining SAI Global to conduct independent audits. These audits are expected to culminate in the fall of 2016, according to Ocean Brands.

“Ensuring human and labor rights are upheld is key to any sustainability commitment, and all of our suppliers share in our goal of providing a safe and positive work environment,” Hughes said. “We are pleased to make these major changes to our sourcing and procurement policies to be a leader in bringing responsibly caught and ethically produced seafood to our Canadian customers.”

Environmental group Greenpeace issued a statement of support of Ocean Beauty’s effort to ensure that its supply chain is sustainably sound.

“By sourcing from tuna fishing methods that reduce negative impacts on our oceans, like pole and line and FAD-free purse seining, Ocean’s is taking real steps to clean up its tuna supply,” said Greenpeace Canada’s Senior Oceans Strategist Sarah King.

“This move by Ocean Brands is a game-changer. This is the first major national brand in the Canadian market to work towards offering its customers only more responsibly-caught products,” King said.

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