Overwaitea Food Group closing the loop on farmed salmon
OFG first Canadian retailer to make closed containment salmon widely available
VANCOUVER– SeaChoice retail partner, the Overwaitea Food Group (OFG), is now offering something no other Canadian retailer is – a sustainable source of farmed salmon.
Earlier this year, a Washington-based salmon farming operation made news when it received a “Best Choice” sustainability ranking from the Monterey Bay Aquarium and SeaChoice for their land-based closed containment farm. Building on their commitment to seafood sustainability, OFG has positioned themselves as the exclusive North American retailer for sustainably farmed Coho salmon sold under the brand SweetSpring. This is the first time that closed containment salmon will be widely available to consumers in British Columbia and Alberta.
“For years, conservation groups and scientists have promoted closed containment salmon farming as a means of protecting wild salmon and the marine environments they depend on,” said Shauna Mackinnon, Markets Campaign Coordinator for Living Oceans Society and SeaChoice representative. “OFG’s announcement is helping chart a path forward for sustainable aquaculture by bringing it to a broad consumer market.”
Closed containment technologies are a major advance in aquaculture practices. Closed systems separate farmed fish from wild fish and the environment. Waste, escapes, and spread of disease and parasites are much better controlled in these systems.
Improved technology continues to improve the energy performance of closed containment systems and alternative energy sources offer promising ways to further reduce their carbon footprint in future. SweetSpring has also made feed improvements to reduce the amount of wild fish needed.
The Overwaitea Food Group, which operates 124 stores across 80 communities in Western Canada, was one of North America's first grocery retailers to commit to a sustainable seafood policy, which it announced last June.
“Providing their customers with a sustainable farmed salmon option is an excellent way for OFG to celebrate the first year of their commitment to sustainable seafood,” said Bill Wareham, senior marine conservation specialist with the David Suzuki Foundation and SeaChoice representative. “With innovations like closed containment salmon, we are expanding the menu of sustainable seafood choices available to consumers.
” Formed in 2006, SeaChoice is a national program that provides science-based sustainability assessments of seafood and helps Canadian businesses and consumers make sustainable seafood choices. More than 800,000 printed copies of the program's guide to sustainable seafood, Canada's Seafood Guide, are in circulation across the country.
SeaChoice is a joint initiative of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, David Suzuki Foundation, Ecology Action Centre, Living Oceans Society and Sierra Club BC, and works in collaboration with the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program.
Taina Uitto , National Manager, SeaChoice, (604) 685-7445 x 26 (office) , (604) 838-0942 (mobile)