Gindara Sablefish nets top sustainability rating

Gindara becomes the first marine finfish farm in Canada to get ‘Green, Best Choice’ rating from Monterey Bay Aquarium’s sustainable Seafood Watch program

By Fabian Dawson

Gindara Sablefish, farmed in Kyuquot Sound off Vancouver Island, has been awarded with the ‘Green, Best Choice’ rating by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s sustainable Seafood Watch program.

Gindara becomes the first marine finfish farm in Canada to get this top accreditation.

Sablefish, also known as black cod, is a native fish to British Columbia. Gindara Sablefish is raised in cooperation with the Kyuquot-Checleseht First Nation and is shipped fresh to top chefs globally, every week.

“As pioneers of sablefish aquaculture, I am extremely proud of our team at the farm and hatchery who have conducted all the research, development, and daily work that goes into producing this sustainable fish,” said Terry Brooks, president of Gindara, who has been perfecting the culture of sablefish for over 20 years.

“Sustainability is a critical issue, and we must ensure our wild and farmed sources of seafood do not reduce the balance of nature.” said Don Read, Gindara Sablefish’s head of marketing.

“With a Best Choice endorsement, chefs, restaurants, retailers, and consumers, can be confident that Gindara Sablefish is a sustainable, and delicious source of seafood, with minimal impact on its environment”.

Seafood Watch recommendations are one of the most respected seafood assessment systems, and provide consumers, chefs, and businesses with unbiased science-based guidance about the environmental sustainability of a wide range of farmed and wild seafood products.

“The process for a Seafood Watch rating is thorough and includes a detailed analysis of all aspects of farming, a methodical peer review process, and data verification using independent sources,” said Claire Li, Gindara Sablefish’s sustainability director

“We have always prioritized our ocean ecosystem in which we operate and have strived to keep it as healthy as possible. This rating validates our efforts to care for our oceans, and we are proud to share this,” she said.

Speaking to at the B.C. Seafood Festival last year, Li said Gindara, which operates the only commercial scale ocean-pen sablefish farm in the world, raises about two million pounds a year and is increasing production at a rate by about 15 per cent annually.

In Japan, the Gindara Sablefish or Black Cod is prized as a true sashimi fish that can be served raw, without freezing, she said.

“More and more Canadians are also coming to love it and yes definitely there has been lots of interest from people everywhere in the world,” said Li.

Seafood Watch scores seafood across a range of sustainability criteria and uses these scores to group seafood into three recommendation categories which guide consumer choice: Green for Best Choice seafood, Yellow as Good Alternative, and Red as Avoid.

The Green-rated “Best Choice” is an objective measurement of Gindara Sablefish’s operations and defines the seafood as “well-managed and caught or farmed in ways that cause little harm to habitats or other wildlife”.

(Image courtesy of Gindara Sablefish)