Sustainability Matters

Consumer preferences continue to drive demand for sustainable seafood options

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At Canadian sushi and sashimi operations across all segments, chefs, processors and producers are building their businesses on a platform of sustainability and transparency.

In a world where traceability is increasingly important to diners, choosing sustainable seafood options for foodservice operations is a great way to provide peace of mind — not to mention, often a superior-quality product — to a growing segment of environmentally aware clientele.

F&H spoke to Jason Tompkins of One Tuna in Prince Edward Island, about providing Canadian sush-and-sashimi chefs and restaurateurs with a sustainably caught, superior-quality bluefin tuna through his new tuna-processing plant. Previously, being dependent on large-scale suppliers to sell his product, he could only sell whole tuna. Now, he can process and flash-freeze the tuna into smaller portions to sell and ship directly to foodservice providers throughout the country, no matter how big or small the operation.

Venturing from wild sustainable seafood to farmed product, we spoke with Don Read of Gindara Sablefish on Vancouver Island to discuss its thriving, environmentally conscious sablefish-production farm. From torched nigiri to perfectly textured sashimi, this fish is not only well-suited to classical Japanese preparation — it’s also highly recommended by seafood sustainability organization Ocean Wise. Based at the Vancouver Aquarium, Ocean Wise’s seafood program provides regular assistance to sushi-and-sashimi chefs who wish to promote sustainable seafood.

Toronto’s Bento Sushi has proven large-scale, multi-platform sushi production can also be a lesson in sustainability. With more than 21-million servings of prepared sushi sold each year in North America, the business prides itself on using only Marine Stewardship Council-certified seafood in its product line. Bento Sushi can be found throughout Canada in grocery stores, transportation-hub QSR’s, universities and even hospitals.

Finally, we took a look at Canadian seafood labelling laws. Did you know that Canada lags behind both the EU and the United States in the information it provides on its seafood labels? SeaChoice gives Canadian seafood labels an F-grade, due to the significant lack of species, traceability and sustainability information and encourages retailers to voluntarily provide more information to help consumers make informed seafood purchases.   

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