We fish too much. Maybe not us in Alberta, but as a global society we have done a good job of depleting our stock of marine life. In fact, an estimated 90% of all large, predatory fish are gone from the world’s oceans.
Overfishing is messing with the ecosystem, messing with our food supply and making us not very good global citizens. What we have done to our ocean (and fresh water) fish supply is bad now, but if we don’t become more conscientious of what we are eating, it’s going to get much worse.
The Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program is trying to fix all of that. The conservation project works with restaurants and markets to give them current, scientific information about sustainable seafood. It constantly updates and reclassifies seafood as good or bad depending on available data and changing seasons and makes seafood recommendations based on four criteria:
1. That it is abundant and resilient to fishing pressures.
2. That it is well managed with a comprehensive management plan based on current research.
3. It is harvested in a method that ensures limited bycatch on non-target and endangered species.
4. it is harvested in ways that limit damage to marine or aquatic habitats and negative interactions with other species.
Because it isn’t likely that we will personally do the research on harvesting and resiliency before choosing between the spot or black tiger prawn (hint: never choose the black tiger prawn), Ocean Wise has done the work for us. Here are a few easy things us seafood eaters can do to make sure we are supporting sustainability.
Ocean Wise Calgary restaurants
Calgary has three restaurants that are 100% Ocean Wise – Catch & The Oyster Bar, River Caf and Sky 360 – and dozens of restaurants that work with the program to offer some Ocean Wise menu options including Big Fish, Model Milk, Raw Bar, Redwater Rustic Grille, Rouge, Rush and The Rimrock.
For a complete list, visit oceanwise.ca.
Look for the Ocean Wise symbol on menus
Menu items that are Ocean Wise will have this symbol beside them.
Use the phone app
Ocean Wise has a free app that shows all partner locations and updated information on which seafood is good to eat depending on seasons and new data. June is a good time for Sockeye salmon, Pacific halibut, B.C. spot prawns and swordfish.
Always avoid these 10 unsustainable items
- Black Tiger Prawns
- Ahi Tuna
- Atlantic Cod
- Sea Scallops (wild)
- Chilean Sea Bass
- Farmed Salmon (open-net)
- Orange Roughy
For more information on the Ocean Wise program, visit oceanwise.ca