The Canadian nonprofit SeaChoice is changing its mission in an effort to become Canada’s “leading sustainable seafood watchdog.”
SeaChoice was founded in 2006 as a partnership between the David Suzuki Foundation, the Ecology Action Centre, and the Living Oceans Society. Previously focused on increasing consumer awareness of sustainable seafood via distribution of a sustainable seafood buying guide similar to that of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program, SeaChoice will become more government- and industry-focused following its transition. Its new goals include improving seafood-labeling regulations, eco-certification standards, fisheries and aquaculture management, and making information more transparent throughout the supply chain, it said in a press release.
“We’ve seen more awareness of sustainable seafood in Canada over the last decade, but we realized that continuing along the path of encouraging point-of-sale promotion only is not going to achieve the improvements to fishing and aquaculture practices still badly needed,” said David Suzuki Foundation’s Bill Wareham, a manager of science projects for the foundation’s operations in Western Canada. “We’re excited to dig deeper to realize further improvements and transparency of sustainable seafood in Canada over the next decade.”
To launch its new mission, SeaChoice is calling for new Canadian regulations to improve seafood labeling to better align with international best practices and major export markets, it said. In addition, the nonprofit will be creating tools and resources for retailers that offer them information on how to improve their sustainable seafood policies and procurement practices transparently report their progress.
“We’re proud that our retail partners have made great strides in their commitment to sustainable seafood,” SeaChoice market analyst Kurtis Hayne said. “Now we’ll be working towards solutions for persistent challenges that keep sustainable fisheries and aquaculture from further improvement in Canada. Our transition will benefit seafood retailers as well.”
Public engagement will remain a part of SeaChoice’s agenda, as it said it will continue with its previous programs including seafood DNA testing, updates on fisheries and aquaculture improvements that help reduce the volume of unsustainable seafood in the marketplace, and communicating annual retailer seafood procurement audit results.
“It’s clear Canada needs an organization focused on ensuring greater transparency of seafood sourcing and holding the seafood supply chain accountable,” said Susanna Fuller, a marine communications coordinator for the Ecology Action Center.