Shoppers who feel a pang of environmental guilt when buying seafood can now find relief at Federated Co-op food stores in Central Alberta.
The Co-ops in Red Deer, Innisfail, Rocky Mountain House, Olds, Eckville, Rimbey and Spruce View are among approximately 130 across Western Canada that are participating in a sustainable seafood program called “Reel in the Solution!”
Federated Co-op has partnered with SeaChoice, a consortium of Canadian conservation organizations that assesses the environmental sustainability of wild fisheries and aquaculture products, and has created a related labelling system.
Under that system, seafood is marked as “Best Choice,” “Some Concerns” or “Avoid.” The Best Choice designation indicates the item is well-managed, abundant, and caught or farmed in environmentally sustainable ways. Products marked Avoid have been flagged due to population concerns, harm to endangered species and/or unsustainable fishing methods.
The current Best Choice options include Arctic char, sablefish, steelhead trout, rainbow trout, Dungeness crab and mussels. Those marked Avoid consist of Atlantic halibut, blue marlin, shark, Chilean sea bass, longlined swordfish, skates, rays and orange roughy.
In addition to product labelling, the Reel in the Solution! program utilizes educational materials like handouts, pocket guides and posters.