Sustainable Fisheries

Issues Related to Sustainable Fisheries

What are sustainable fisheries ?

Sustainable fisheries allow us to meet our needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. This type of fishery is sustainable indefinitely, does not reduce the species' ability to reproduce at appropriate levels, and has no negative impact on other plant and animal species (including humans).

A sustainable fisheries policy enables us to monitor the survivability of seafood species while supporting economic prosperity. This means balancing fish stocks and healthy marine environments, while promoting prosperous fisheries.

What are the main environmental issues related to fishing and what are the possible solutions ?

The main environmental issues are overfishing and the ecological impacts related to the fishing techniques used. There are solutions for each of these issues and it is the goal of Metro's policy to promote these solutions.


Metro's Policy

Why has Metro decided to adopt a sustainable fisheries policy ?

Metro's policy was based on a broad range of complementary scientific reports that led to an objective analysis. We believe that, while MSC or BAP (Best Aquaculture Practices) certifications are well-known and should be encouraged as good practices to adopt, the certifications do not yet cover all the fisheries, which is why it is best to complete our analysis using the opinions of scientific experts (e.g. Fisheries and Oceans Canada).

Why didn't Metro opt for a policy based mainty on MSC certification ?

Because we believe in it! Metro is acknowledging that sustainable fisheries and the preservation of natural resources are major issues for future generations. We decided to adopt this policy in order to offer our customers wild and farmed seafood products from sustainable fisheries.

What organizations did you consult in developing your policy ?

Our policy and decision-making process are based on four core principles. We consulted scientific studies, a panel of experts, Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and our suppliers. We also worked with Greenpeace and independent scientists such as Jean- Claude Brêthes, professor at the Institut des sciences de la mer at the University of Quebec in Rimouski (ISMER, marine science institute), as well as experts from the Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Will merchants have theoption of implementing the policy ?

This policy applies to all merchants, under all banners, without exception.

Do you think that some suppliers will be unable to comply with the Code of conduct and will thus be dropped from your list of suppliers ?

To ensure compliance with this procedure, all Metro suppliers, without exception, will sign a Code of conduct attesting that they commit to managing their activities according to the criteria set out in this code. We will work closely with our suppliers to ensure they comply with the policy and that they adopt responsible management practices as part of their operations. Only those suppliers who comply with the Code of conduct will continue to supply Metro after June 2011.

What do you mean when you say that Metro will take into account the local economy in its decision-making process ?

Support for the local economy, along with scientific reports on the status of fish stocks, is one of the criteria in our decision-making process to keep or provisionally withdraw specific fish species.

For example, certain organizations recommend temporarily withdrawing Atlantic halibut fished in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, in the Scotian Shelf or in the Bay of Fundy, due to the fact that stocks are currently vulnerable. However, according to the latest scientific reports published by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Atlantic halibut stocks are currently stable in these areas. Given that fisheries are often small and locally run, we have decided to keep selling this species in our stores, while continuing to monitor stocks closely and encourage the use of good fishing techniques by our suppliers.

Will farm-raised fish also be temporarity withdrawn ?

Yes, this is a possibility. But, based on this year's analysis, we have classified these fish as "continuous improvement" in order to seek out suppliers with the best possible practices. Since farm fishing will be an important source of supply in the future, we also have a responsibility to stimulate sustainable innovations in this sector.

Is the fish used in sushi sustainable ?

In this case, the notion of "sustainable" is not related to a specific food preparation method (e.g. sushi, grill or oven, even though grilling and baking consume more energy than making sushi), but rather to the ingredients used in the recipe. Specifically, the species used can be more or less sustainable depending on stocks and fishing techniques used. For example, bluefin tuna is currently not very sustainable but can be replaced with albacore tuna in sushi. By making substitutions like this, sushi can very easily be sustainable. A number of websites suggest sustainable fish species that can be used to make sushi (Monterey Bay Institute or Ocean Wise, see references on sheet 8).