SOURCE: Ocean Brands

Ocean Brands

July 05, 2017 12:07 ET

Ocean's Environmental Conservation Efforts Recognized in Greenpeace Canada's 2017 Canned Tuna Sustainability Ranking

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - July 05, 2017) - Canada's second largest tuna brand, Ocean's, is taking big steps to lead in sustainability in the tuna section of your local grocery store. Ocean's is pleased to have its responsible seafood sourcing practices recognized in Greenpeace Canada's just-released 2017 Canned Tuna Sustainability Ranking -- the first since 2013. 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, Sobey's, Metro, Costco groups, and many others.

"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."

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."

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 bycatch -- non-target fish, seabirds, sharks and turtles caught by mistake -- and addresses overfishing and harvesting stock in a way that protects marine environments."

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. Pole-and-line fishing is rated the most sustainable way to fish tuna by many conservation groups, as it eliminates bycatch. Free swimming caught without the use of a fish aggregating device is accepted by NGOs and environmental watch groups as responsible and important in the reduction of bycatch of juvenile tuna from vulnerable stocks and at-risk species, such as sharks.

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.

Canadians eat a lot of tuna. National sales for canned tuna in Canada is approximately $198 million per year. Sustainable fishing practices help to ensure tuna overfishing and habitat destruction do not occur. Being good stewards of the oceans is essential to allow fish stocks to continue to thrive and remain resilient to fishing pressures.

"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.

For more information on Ocean's commitment to sustainability, visit http://oceanbrands.com/sustainability/overview.

See video footage of pole-and-line fishing methods, provided by the International Pole & Line Foundation. Photos are also available.

Embedded Video Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmWrdLNqFSI&feature=youtu.be

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