Critics: Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise Program Has No Enforcement
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Vancouver Sun] by Larry Pynn - October 24, 2016
The Vancouver Aquarium boasts Ocean Wise as a program to help businesses and consumers make environmentally friendly, sustainable seafood choices — from barnacles to barramundi — harvested locally or around the world.
What’s less evident is that restaurants, supermarkets and seafood suppliers can become official partners — paying up to $5,000 annually to display the Ocean Wise logo — for carrying as little as one certified-sustainable seafood, even if they sell far more species on the program’s list of seafoods to avoid.
“They don’t have to be 100 percent,” confirmed Ann-Marie Copping, the Ocean Wise program manager. The program works with partners to increase their offerings of sustainable products in hopes of reaching full compliance.
Ocean Wise — which is a growing operation — also offers no ongoing enforcement and monitoring of its partners. “In terms of auditing their operations on a regular basis, we don’t,” Copping said. “Our program is about education, training and doing proper (species-at-risk) assessments.”
Where a restaurant is found to be misusing the Ocean Wise logo, the program investigates. “The majority of the time it’s a misunderstanding or they didn’t see the updated assessment,” Copping said.
Teddie Geach, a seafood specialist with Ocean Wise, said the program launched in 2005 alongside Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch to highlight the best seafood menu choices, leaving the final decision to ...
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