Canada's second largest tuna brand, Ocean's, has its responsible seafood sourcing practices recognized in Greenpeace Canada's just-released 2017 Canned Tuna Sustainability Ranking. Due to conservation measures adopted in recent years, Ocean's is ranked in 4th spot (up from 9th in 2013), making it the largest more sustainable, readily-available national brand of canned tuna in Canada. Ocean's tuna is carried across the country in major grocery stores, including Save-On-Foods, Loblaw, Sobeys, Metro, Costco groups, and many others.
Ocean's sources tuna from fisheries within regions which can maintain sustainable numbers while protecting marine reserves.
"Canned tuna is a staple for Canadian families, and we are proud to provide an affordable, sustainable tuna option that is available across the country," said Ian Ricketts, Vice President, Ocean Brands, from his office in Vancouver. "At Ocean Brands, we believe it's no longer enough to offer a few sustainable choices, but that all tuna should be responsibly sourced. Ocean's is the first major tuna brand in Canada to take the steps necessary to make this vision a reality."
All Ocean's tuna is caught either free swimming, by pole and line, or by long line fishing with circle hooks.
Ocean's tuna has moved into Greenpeace's green category, indicating high sustainability for achieving its goal to source its light tuna from suppliers using more sustainable fishing methods; its strengthened ethical labour standards; and its commitment to increase its 'pole-and-line' caught albacore, while requiring stronger bycatch mitigation measures on longline vessels.
"Ocean Brands' commitment to source its tuna more responsibly across its product lines means big change in the tuna aisles across Canada," said Sarah King, Senior Oceans Strategist, Greenpeace Canada. "This is the type of leadership major tuna markets, and our ocean ecosystems, need to drive real change through the industry back to the water."
All Ocean Brands’ canned seafood products are traceable.
Over the last decade Ocean's has been working with its tuna suppliers to change how tuna is caught and purchased for the Canadian customer. Ocean's is committed to working with suppliers who use sustainable best practices, which ensure minimal disruption to the ocean's ecosystems.
"This required Ocean's to work with our fishing suppliers and boats to use catch methods and fishing gear that help protect juvenile fish so they can grow bigger," said Ricketts. "This method also reduces the by-catch - non-target fish, seabirds, sharks and turtles caught by mistake - and addresses overfishing and harvesting stock in a way that protects marine environments."
Ocean's has commited to increase its 'pole-and-line' caught albacore, while requiring stronger bycatch mitigation measures on longline vessels.
Today, Ocean's offers the widest range of ocean-friendly tuna in Canada of any national brand. By the end of this year, Ocean's will have successfully transitioned 100 per cent of its popular 'light' tuna to pole-and-line or free swimming caught.
In early 2012, Ocean's became a founding member of the International Pole & Line Foundation and were the first national brand to introduce pole-and-line caught tuna to the Canadian market.
Ocean's long-term objective is to work with suppliers who commit to using sustainable best practices which ensure minimal disruption to the ocean’s ecosystems.
Starting in 2013, all Ocean's flavoured and value-added tuna products are produced with free swimming caught fish, and since 2015 Ocean's Albacore products are sourced from either pole-and-line or circle hook fisheries.
All Ocean's canned seafood products are also traceable, which means the company can determine the origins of any product throughout the supply chain. It can establish which fishing boat, area, method of catch or processing plant their products originate from, and to which retailers they're finally shipped.
"There's a high cost to cheap tuna unless we adopt responsible fishing practices," Ricketts said. "Ocean's has been around for a long time and for us to continue to be around for many more decades, we need to protect the health of our oceans. Consumers can influence responsible fishing practices by purchasing a sustainable brand of tuna, like Ocean's, at the grocery store."
To ensure high ethical standards, all suppliers have signed Ocean's Supplier Code of Conduct. The company has retained an independent third-party to conduct ethical audits of all suppliers to make sure the rights, working conditions, worker safety, and pay fairness at the facilities meet its requirements. It has a policy to protect the workers on fishing boats, too.
"Ensuring human and labour rights are upheld is key to any sustainability commitment, which is why we only work with suppliers who share our vision of providing a safe and positive work environment," Ricketts added.
Ocean's will continue to work with industry, environmental groups, like Greenpeace, International Pole & Line Foundation, Marine Stewardship Council, and The Nature Conservancy, to improve and increase observer coverage on fishing fleets and search for viable ways to make a difference.
Ocean's is a leading seafood brand in Canada, internationally known for its leadership in product innovation, quality management and sustainability.