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Metro Lakeshore & Geneva 101 Lakeshore Rd. St. Catharines ON

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Our Sustainable Fisheries Policy

Our Sustainable Fisheries Policy

Metro acknowledges that sustainable fisheries and the preservation of natural resources are vital for future generations.

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 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).

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.

Principles of the policy

Metro's sustainable fisheries policy aims at providing fresh or frozen, wild and farmed seafood to customers in Quebec and Ontario.


Metro believes that all decisions related to sustainable fisheries must be based on an objective analysis that first takes into account official scientific opinions on the status of species, but also the points of view of all stakeholders (governments, NGOs and suppliers).

Update of species-specific diagnoses

Since fishing techniques, and the health of ocean species and ecosystems are constantly evolving, Metro will regularly update its species-specific diagnoses, based on the latest facts and scientific reports. Metro will also regularly seek out independent scientific opinions.

Major criteria

Healthy species

Metro will only sell species that are scientifically proven to be present in sufficient quantities, and whose fishing rates are sustainable. In addition, these products must come from areas that are well-controlled and managed, when possible, according to legal quotas based on recognized scientific assessments.

Sustainable operating methods

The fisheries and aquafarms supplying Metro will have to prove that they use sustainable fishing methods and good practices.

Wild seafood products

Metro encourages selective fishing techniques that minimize bycatch rates (unwanted species caught accidentally) and recommends a preventive approach to protecting marine habitats (innovative techniques and risk analysis).

Farmed seafood product

Metro encourages sustainable and innovative practices that enable the moderate use of wild fisheries resources and that minimize the impacts on local natural resources and biodiversity.

Product traceability

The supply chain from the fishing area to the consumer must be documented to allow for informative and transparent labelling.

Local economy and labour law

In keeping with its values and the principles of sustainable development, Metro intends for its sustainable fisheries policy to help support small local fisheries. Metro also plans to buy from fisheries that respect labour law. All Metro suppliers must sign a code of conduct attesting to their commitment to respecting these criteria.


Issues Related to Sustainable Fisheries

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 the option 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.

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. 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.

Our Commitment

Continuous improvement and standards

Metro encourages its suppliers of wild and farmed seafood products to follow a continuous improvement process. The company will favour suppliers who make tangible progress toward the sustainable management of their activities, the traceability of their products and the application of recognized standards (based on peer-reviewed scientific studies, regular audits, third-party certification, and the transparency of procedures and results), such as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

Consumer information and awareness

Metro is committed to informing and raising awareness among its customers to the issue of sustainable fisheries.


Metro informs its stakeholders of the results of its initiatives and its sustainable fisheries policy on a regular basis.

List of “continuous improvement” products:

Farm-raised salmon

Metro will seek out suppliers with good farming practices that minimize environmental impacts, such as standardized environmental management systems, integrated farming practices and enclosed tanks, while producing a top-quality product.

Tropical shrimp

Shrimp farms in Asia have been targeted for their harmful impacts on mangrove swamps. Therefore, Metro will seek out suppliers that use responsible practices, and standardized environmental management and traceability systems (e.g. the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) logo).


Canadian and U.S. Atlantic haddock stocks have been improving over the past several years. However, we will continue to seek out suppliers that show proof of continuous improvement in terms of fishing techniques (e.g. use of selective nets to avoid the bycatch of cod).


Longline swordfishing (using a long fishline with multiple baited hooks) involves significant problems of bycatch (sharks, turtles and sea birds). As such, Metro will seek out fisheries that use sustainable fishing techniques, such as harpoon, or longlines accompanied by an improved monitoring system to decrease bycatch.

Atlantic and Greenland halibut

These species, which are regulated by government quotas, are faring well but are still sensitive in Canada (risk of overfishing). Certain techniques also involve the risk of bycatch. As a result, Metro will promote selective techniques to traditional Canadian fisheries.

Scallops and Stimpson's surf clam

For these shellfish species, the problem lies in the fishing technique (bottom dragging) and its impact on the seabed biodiversity. Metro will seek out fisheries with the best dragging techniques (e.g. a Canadian fishery that is MSC certified for scallops) or more sustainable solutions, such as farming or hand-harvesting.