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According to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) nine in 10 of the world’s fisheries are overfished or at capacity. And combined with climate change, overfishing is putting enormous, unabating pressure on global fish stocks.
It’s in response to this worsening crisis that initiatives like the Ocean Wise sustainable seafood program were established.
The Ocean Wise seafood program focuses on raising consumer awareness and works with restaurants, markets and suppliers. We encourage Canadians to think twice before choosing a seafood dish, perhaps check the app, and make an ocean-friendly decision by looking for the Ocean Wise symbol. And it works. The number of partners is growing, and has steadily since the program began in 2005. Consumers want to know more about the impact of their food choices, and more power to them if they go the extra mile and ask their servers or check for extra info on their phones.
Those familiar with the Ocean Wise program know the key step to recognizing Ocean Wise recommended seafood: look for the Ocean Wise seafood symbol on a menu or at your local retailer.
It can be that simple. If you want to go even further, we encourage it. Here’s a quick rundown of the additional measures you can take to ensure you’re making the sustainable choice:
Aim local, and low
Eating local when possible is a plausible approach, though the reality is that it’s out of reach for many people. If you can do it, do it. At the very least, aim to eat low on the trophic level, such as farmed shellfish. This will help reduce your impact on the food chain.
The Ocean Wise app is available for iPhone and Android systems, and has a comprehensive database of all our partners from coast to coast, including a GPS-enabled search function. It also houses all of our assessments, so you can look up a seafood item while you’re out and about and verify that it is, in fact, Ocean Wise. You can also use the “Seafood Search” function on our mobile site at seafood.ocean.org
Ask your server
When our partners join the program, they receive training about the program and that gets shared with their staff. So it’s perfectly reasonable to want to ask your server about the source of the seafood you’re ordering. They might need to look into the details, but at least you’re doing your due diligence.
Keep a keen eye out
We want to help ensure that this verification process is as seamless as possible. So we’ve launched a new tool to make it easy for our supporters — friends, partners, citizen watchdogs, inquiring minds — to ask us about how the Ocean Wise symbol is used. Our new reporting tool, accessible here, is a formal system that allows anyone to contact our team when they have a question or concern about the Ocean Wise symbol on a menu or packaging. It’s certainly something we’re always on the hunt for, but there’s that much more power in the program when we can make it a collaborative effort.
We will continue to work with partners every day of the year to ensure they have the latest scientific information about what is recommended and what is not. We invite consumers to play a part in ensuring the success and integrity of Ocean Wise as we continue to grow our roots across Canada. Together, incrementally, we can keep building, creating positive change, and shaping a world in which our oceans are healthy and flourishing.
Overfishing is a major threat to our oceans. With thousands of Ocean Wise seafood partner locations across Canada, Ocean Wise makes it easy for consumers to choose sustainable seafood for the long-term health of our oceans. The Ocean Wise symbol next to a seafood item is our assurance of an ocean-friendly seafood choice. www.ocean.org/seafood.