Publication - January 31, 2010
Clic on a question below.

6. Does Greenpeace oppose the hunting of seals for subsistence purposes?

No. Greenpeace does not oppose the hunting of marine species for subsistence purposes.

7. What exactly is bottom trawling?

Read about bottom trawling here.

8. What does unsustainable really mean anyway?

The term unsustainable has many interpretations, but in the context of unsustainable fisheries, it refers to fishing or fish-farming practices where the demands on the environment or species exceed its natural ability to meet the demand.

9. The supermarkets have lots of fish so why does Greenpeace say that fish stocks are declining?

Industrial fishing fleets are fishing further and in deeper waters, using high tech equipment and often operating illegally in order to ensure our supermarkets and our restaurants have fish to sell. The shelves are full of what could be the last of our favourite seafood species if this pressure continues. Don't be fooled: full shelves don't mean full oceans.

10. Why is Greenpeace targeting supermarkets? Isn't it the fishing industry that needs to change?

Collectively, supermarkets sell a massive amount of seafood. By working selectively with suppliers, we can have a massive of amount of influence on how the products they sell are caught or produced. If large supermarkets stop selling the species that are in most dire straits, and start to demand only sustainably caught fish, the fishing industry and politicians will be forced to act to ensure that fishing practices are improved.

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11. Aquaculture provides a lot of jobs in Canada, isn't it the way of the future? Isn't it the answer to declining fish stocks?

No. Fish farming has been promoted by the fishing industry and governments as the solution to ever-decreasing stocks in our oceans. However, in most cases fish farming only makes the problem worse! This is because:

  1. Wild caught fish are often used for fish meal and fish oil to feed farmed stocks which increases the pressure on the marine environment rather than reducing it.
  2. Some breeding stocks for fish farms are taken from wild populations.
  3. Disease and parasites can easily spread from fish farms in open waterways to wild populations.
  4. Environments surrounding fish farms are polluted by fish waste, uneaten food, and the chemicals, antibiotics and vaccines used to control disease.
  5. Other species are often impacted by fish farms such as marine mammals and seabirds.
  6. Social impacts to local populations are often incurred in some coastal fish farming nations.

12. Are there organic or certified seafood products that are better to buy? Is there a universal seafood label that Greenpeace recommends?

There is no single, truly effective "green" label that consumers can look for on fish products, as there is with wood products, for example (the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo). There is no truly equivalent labelling scheme for seafood.

13. What about MSC labelled seafood products?

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) runs a labelling scheme that "certifies" fisheries it deems as sustainable or that are making efforts to become sustainable. Greenpeace does not currently endorse the MSC scheme because, under its rules, fisheries that are still unsustainable (even though they are working to improve) can be awarded the MSC logo. Greenpeace and many other campaigning groups are working with the MSC to try and resolve this issue.

14. What is an ecosystem approach?

An ecosystem approach takes sustainability a step further. Rather than focusing only on a handful of commercially valuable fish species and their populations, an ecosystem approach looks at the health of the entire ecosystem that the fish live in. An ecosystem approach recognizes that all the elements of an ecosystem are connected and impact each other.

15. How many people are employed in Canada's fisheries and how much do they generate for the economy?

About 152,000 people are employed in ocean industries. Commercial fish catches were valued at $2 billion in 2005, while aquaculture was valued at $715.1 million.

16. Who manages Canadian fisheries and oceans?

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is responsible for conserving and protecting Canada's ocean environment and marine resources as well as for regulating maritime trade and commerce. The DFO also undertakes significant scientific research in all three of Canada's oceans (Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific) and runs the Coast Guard.

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