June 08, 2009 10:21 ET

WWF-Canada: Sustainable Seafood Event in Ottawa to Celebrate World Oceans Day

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 8, 2009) - WWF-Canada, in partnership with Minister Gail Shea and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, will mark Oceans Day today on Parliament Hill with an event promoting sustainable seafood and effective oceans management.

"We are facing a crisis with our oceans that is already having serious effects on our environment, our economy and even our food supply," said Gerald Butts, President and CEO, WWF-Canada. "We have to confront this crisis head on, which means serious action from governments, industry and consumers."

Mr. Butts points out that Canada's oceans contribute $23 billion a year to our economy, supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs. He notes these jobs depend on sustainable management, as was demonstrated by the loss of more than 30,000 jobs when the cod fishery collapsed in the early 1990s.

"Scientists estimate that 90 per cent of the ocean's large fish - including tuna, marlin, halibut and cod - have already disappeared," said Mr. Butts. "In order to restore our oceans' health and ensure the prosperity of our vital oceans' industries we need action from all sectors. We need government to implement an integrated approach to oceans planning, which means working with retailers, fishing communities, and other stakeholders to ensure environmental, economic and social concerns are well balanced. We need businesses to fish sustainably and source sustainably. We also need consumers to become informed and ask for responsible, sustainable products."

At the event featured speaker, Galen G. Weston, Executive Chairman, Loblaw Companies Limited, will detail Loblaw's commitment to source all seafood sold in its retail locations from sustainable sources by the end of 2013.

"The science and ecology of rehabilitating the world's oceans are complex and require immediate attention," said Galen G. Weston, Executive Chairman, Loblaw Companies Limited. "We believe by working collaboratively with suppliers, environmental organizations and government to address key obstacles such as traceability, sustainable supply, food safety and affordability, we will be able to source 100 per cent of our seafood from sustainable sources."

WWF works to make oceans matter with governments and industry around the world ensuring healthy economies and ecosystems.

About World Oceans Day

June 8 marks the first official World Oceans Day. Although the day has been celebrated ever since Canada proposed it at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the U.N. has now given it an official designation on its calendar. World Oceans Day, provides an opportunity each year to celebrate oceans and our connection to them. It also highlights the need for effective planning and conservation to maintain a healthy ocean ecosystem on which many of our important industries and communities depend.

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