Sustainable fish and seafood are from either fished or farmed sources that can maintain or increase production in the future without jeopardizing the ecosystems from which it was acquired. The sustainable seafood movement has gained momentum as more people become aware of human impact on our environment.

Canada is a world leader in the sustainable management of fisheries and aquaculture.

Federal Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is responsible for providing Canadians with sustainable fisheries and sustainable aquaculture, and healthy and productive aquatic ecosystems. Consumers can be confident that Canada has a robust system and will continue to improve its management of fisheries and aquaculture operations to ensure sustainable seafood today and in the future.

Defining Sustainability

Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture means the harvesting and farming of fish stocks in a manner that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Facts on Canadian Fisheries

Fisheries and Oceans Canada works to secure the future of our wild capture fisheries through sustainable and responsible fisheries management that is science based, applies the precautionary approach, addresses ecosystem considerations and uses a risk based approach to managing our resources. Please read more about Canada’s key fisheries

Sustainable Aquaculture

Aquaculture is a vital and growing industry in Canada. And with this growth comes responsibility. Learn more about how we’ve fostered an aquaculture industry, with science as the backbone of everything we do, that is sustainable not just now but for future generations. Read about why sustainability matters and learn how it informs everything we do.

For more information on sustainable aquaculture click here. Video on farming the ocean in Atlantic Canada.

How Seafood is Deemed Sustainable

Source: Federal Fisheries and Oceans (DFO)

Several organizations, including the Marine Stewardship Council and Friend of the Sea, provide third part certification of fisheries, if the fishery applies and meets all requirements.

Friend of the Sea

Friend of the Sea is a main international certification project for products originating from both sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.

Certified products from all continents include most of the traded species, fishmeal, fishfeed and Omega-3 fish oil. Products and their origins are audited onsite by independent international certification bodies, against strict Friend of the Sea sustainability criteria.

To learn more about this organization and certification, visit

Global TRUST Certification Ltd.

Today’s seafood buyers and consumers demand to know where their food comes from, how it is obtained and what has happened to it prior to purchase. However good the practices are in the seafood industry, confidence must be instilled to a wider public through a trustworthy and understandable mechanism – certification is widely accepted as the appropriate mechanism. To learn more, visit Seafood Trust online.

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an independent non-profit organization with an ecolabel and fishery certification program. Fisheries that are assessed and meet the standard can use the MSC blue ecolabel. The MSC mission is to ’reward sustainable fishing practices’. When fish is bought that has the blue MSC ecolabel, it should indicate that this fishery operates in an environmentally responsible way and does not contribute to the global environmental problem of overfishing. As of the end of 2010, more than 1,300 fisheries and companies had achieved a Marine Stewardship Council certification. To learn more about MSC click here.

Chefs and Restaurants

Our chefs take great care in choosing their products. Seafood restaurants have begun to offer more sustainable seafood options, with some restaurants specializing in sustainable seafood. The Seafood Choices Alliance aims to educate chefs about the choices they make in order to encourage more chefs and restaurants to offer certified sustainable options.

Canada’s model for the sustainable management of Canadian fisheries cover the following five key areas:

  • Planning
  • Science as a Cornerstone of Decision-Making
  • Managing Environmental Impacts
  • Enforcing the Rules
  • Monitoring Results