Overwaitea Food Group (OFG) is offering salmon raised in a land-based, closed-containment farm — the first Canadian retailer to do so on a large scale.
In a press released posted by SeaChoice, OFG said on Wednesday that it is now selling farmed coho salmon from Aquaseed, a Washington state-based operation that employs a land-based, closed-containment system. The salmon is marketed under the SweetSpring brand.
Last June, OFG and SeaChoice formed a partnership in which the environmental NGO will help the British Columbia-based retailer develop and implement a sustainable seafood purchasing policy. SeaChoices’s seafood-buying guide, Canada’s Seafood Guide, categories species as “best choice,” “some concerns” and “avoid” according to whether they’re caught or farmed in an environmentally responsible manner, similar to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch guide.
In January, the Monterey Bay Aquarium upgraded coho salmon raised in on closed-containment farm to “best choice” — the first time the aquarium has categorized farmed salmon as such. According to SeaChoice, closed-containment systems are more environmentally friendly than ocean net pens because fish waste, escapes and the spread of disease and parasites are much better controlled.
“For years, conservation groups and scientists have promoted closed-containment salmon farming as a means of protecting wild salmon and the marine environments they depend on,” said Shauna Mackinnon, markets campaign coordinator for Living Oceans Society and a SeaChoice representative. “OFG’s announcement is helping chart a path forward for sustainable aquaculture by bringing it to a broad consumer market.”
OFG operates 124 stores in western Canada under the Overwaitea Foods, Save-On-Foods, Urban Fare, Cooper's Foods, PriceSmart Foods and Bulkley Valley Wholesale banners.