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Ocean Wise Launches New Seafood Assessment Tool to Expand Sustainable Seafood Ratings

A school of unicorn fish swim above a coral reef near the island of Komodo in Indonesia. This region is extremely diverse and known for its healthy marine ecosystem.

The Goods from Ocean Wise

Vancouver, BC | Ocean Wise recently launched a new assessment tool that promises to see more Canadian fisheries, and more seafood options, recommended as a sustainable choice. The new approach – called the Rapid Assessment Standard (RAPSTA) – maintains Ocean Wise’s high bar while making it easier and more cost effective to conduct assessments. As a result new and updated seafood options have been added to the Ocean Wise Recommended roster with more to come.

Several of these Ocean Wise Recommended seafood options include:

  • Clam, Pacific Geoduck, harvested via diving*
    Gooseneck barnacles, harvested via hand implements, Clayoquot Sound*
    Atlantic Halibut, harvested via handlines and pole-and-lines (hand operated), Atlantic Ocean
    Arctic Cod, harvested via gillnets, handlines, pole-and-lines, Arctic

*updated recommendations

Overfishing is one of the greatest threats our ocean faces and one of the most direct ways humans impact the ocean. With an estimated 3 billion people globally relying on seafood as an important source of protein it is critical that science and communication come together to help consumers make responsible choices. Since 2005 Ocean Wise has helped consumers and businesses – including restaurants, markets, and suppliers – navigate these choices with its globally recognized sustainable seafood recommendation program.

However, due to data and capacity limitations, a significant number of Canadian fisheries have not been able to be assessed by Ocean Wise or other sustainable seafood programs. With RAPSTA, Ocean Wise can develop a more comprehensive set of recommendations in a quick, cost-effective, and scientifically rigorous manner. Additionally, RAPSTA will allow Ocean Wise to track the progress of fisheries over time, allowing for targeted efforts to rebuild fish stocks.

With RAPSTA, Canadian seafood consumers and restaurateurs will be able to access a larger suite of information on what is – and what is not – sustainable seafood harvested in Canadian waters.

Ocean Wise only recommends seafood options that:

  • Ensure healthy and resilient stocks and populations
    Have effective and adaptive management plans in place
    Limit negative impacts on habitats and other species

Learn more about RAPSTA here.

The RAPSTA methodology was developed by Dr. Laurenne Schiller, a Liber Ero postdoctoral researcher at Carleton University, in collaboration with Ocean Wise Seafood’s Science Lead Samantha Renshaw and pairs rigorous data from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program and Oceana Canada’s 2022 Fishery Audit.

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