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Metro Lakeshore 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.

Sustainable seafood is seafood that meets our needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. Sustainable seafood requires harvesting methods and culturing techniques that respect healthy fish population levels, other species, and ecosystems as a whole.

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

The two main environmental concerns related to fisheries are overfishing (when the targeted fish population is fished to the extent that it cannot replace itself through natural reproduction) and the negative ecological effects of certain fishing gears (bycatch and habitat damage). There are solutions for these issues and through Metro’s sustainable seafood policy we aim to promote fisheries employing these solutions.

Principles of the policy

Metro's sustainable fisheries policy aims to provide sustainable 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 advise 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 recommendations, based on the latest facts and scientific reports. Metro also seeks 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 fisheries that are properly managed and with regular scientific assessments to identify appropriate harvest limits.

Sustainable operating methods

The fisheries and aquafarms supplying Metro must prove that they use sustainable fishing methods and 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?

Because we believe in it! Metro acknowledges that sustainable fishing, including the preservation of natural resources, is a major issue with global implications. With this in mind, we adopted a sustainable seafood policy that offers ecologically and socially responsible seafood.

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

Metro’s policy is based on sound scientific evidence that can be applied to all fisheries and all aquaculture practices. While we support eco-certification groups such as the MSC or BAP, these organizations only cover small portions of global production. We therefore made the decision to promote eco-certification but maintain an evaluation method for fisheries that are not certified.

What organizations did you consult in developing your policy?

Our policies are based on scientific studies, and expert, government, and stakeholder consultations. We have also worked with NGOs such as Greenpeace.

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, all Metro suppliers, without exception, sign a Code of Conduct attesting that they respect our sustainable seafood policies. We work with our suppliers on a continuous basis to ensure that they comply with our policies and that they continue to adopt the most responsible practices. Only those suppliers which comply with the Code of Conduct will continue to supply Metro.

What do you mean when you say that Metro will take local economies into consideration?

When evaluating a seafood product against our sustainability criteria, the importance of the fishery or aquaculture practice to a local economy is one of the main criteria.

For example, certain organizations recommend withdrawing all Atlantic halibut products from the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the Scotian Shelf or the Bay of Fundy for stock health concerns. Based on DFO studies, the stocks are thought to be well above the long term average. Given that these halibut fisheries are often small and locally important, we have decided to keep selling the species while promoting sustainable fishing techniques and robust stock management.

Will farm-raised fish also be temporarily withdrawn?

Not at this moment. Aquaculture salmon, shrimp, tilapia, and catfish species all belong to continuous improvement programs which aim to promote the most sustainable aquaculture practices. Since aquaculture already accounts for 50% of the seafood produced globally each year, and is likely to grow, we believe that it is our responsibility to support the sector and its sustainable growth.

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. The species used in sushi can be more or less sustainable depending on where it is from and how it was caught or grown. For example, Pacific Bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) is an unsustainable choice but can be replaced with Albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga) from the Pacific Ocean which is more sustainable. By making these types of substitutions, sushi can be a healthy and responsible meal.

Our Commitment

Continuous improvement and standards

Metro encourages its wild and farmed seafood suppliers to follow a continuous improvement process. Metro will favour suppliers who make tangible progress toward the sustainable management, traceability and adherence to recognized standards (based on peer-reviewed scientific studies, regular audits, third-party certification, and transparency), such as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP).

Consumer information and awareness

Metro is committed to educating consumers about the importance of sustainable seafood.


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 Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)

Metro favours suppliers with good practices which minimize environmental impacts. We favours open-pen farmed salmon products which are certified BAP or ASC and salmon which are raised in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) or integrated aquaculture practices.

Tropical shrimp

Several shrimp farming practices are noted as being ecologically and socially harmful. Metro therefore selects suppliers with either BAP or ASC certification, and asks all shrimp suppliers to confirm that they do not use child labour.

Haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus)

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).

Swordfish (Xiphias gadius)

Swordfish are typically caught with longlines (a long fishing line with multiple baited hooks), which have high bycatch rates. Metro favours swordfish caught using more selective techniques such as harpooning or longlines with bycatch mitigation measures.

Atlantic and Greenland halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus and Reinhardtius hippoglossoides)

While these species are vulnerable to overfishing, they are under strict management by the Canadian government. Metro continues to promote these Canadian fisheries and the communities they support, but also encourages the use of fishing techniques that reduce bycatch.

Scallops and Stimpson's surf clam (species in the Pectinidae family and Mactromeris polynyma)

For these shellfish species, the problem lies in the fishing technique (bottom dragging) and its impact on the seabed. Metro will favour 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.