How industry can make a difference when it comes to sustainable seafood

By Sarah Bertollo
Manager, Special Projects
This brings to mind some of the work that WWF is doing with companies like Loblaw Companies Limited, who has committed to sourcing 100 percent sustainable seafood in all of their products by 2013.
During the summit, I had a chance to speak with various people from the seafood industry, from fishermen to processors to retailers. Each conversation I had provided me with new insights and new appreciation for the challenges that each of these different groups face while trying to make responsible decisions and still run a viable business.
I chatted with Henry Demone, president of High Liner Foods, and, while I only had a few moments to converse with him, I was able to compliment him on his compelling and heartfelt opening remarks, where he gave a personal account of his ties to the seafood industry (his father and grandfather were both Nova Scotia fishermen). He also expressed his views on the role and responsibility of businesses to commit to more responsible fishing practices, not only for the sake of our global seafood supply, but so that businesses in the seafood industry will be able to thrive on having a sustainable supply of fish in the long-term.  Businesses that achieve success through responsible fishing practices will have a positive effect on the communities in which they are based, as well as the marine ecosystems from which they fish. High Liner has put these views into practice with its recent commitment to purchase only from sustainable and responsible sources, both wild and farmed, by 2013. With such strong commitments coming from industry leaders like Loblaw and High Liner, I feel optimistic that other seafood companies will follow suit and commit to more sustainable practices. After all, if consumers are able to choose between two options, one being sustainable and the other not, the choice seems pretty clear.
Getting to meet people engaged in various aspects of the seafood supply chain really complimented the learning that took place within the workshops and panels I attended. The whole experience was educational and thought-provoking, and I’ll be posting a few more blogs over the next few weeks to share more insights that I gained while in Vancouver.

MSC certified seafood product, Switzerland © WWF-Canon / Elma Okic