SeaChoice ends partnership with Overwaitea

Transparency and reporting issues cited as key reasons for discontinuing partnership

SeaChoice has pulled the plug on its association with B.C.’s Overwaitea Food Group.

The NGO, which works to educate consumers and retailers about the fish they eat, cited reporting and transparency issues as the reasons for ending the partnership.

Retailers who partner with SeaChoice can label seafood products with a SeaChoice “Recommended” sticker that signifies the product is sustainable.

“It’s a change, not an end for us,” said Julie Dickson Olmstead, a spokesperson with Overwaitea. “We remain committed to sustainable seafood in our stores.”

Olmstead would not comment on what led to the rift between Overwaitea and SeaChoice, but said it is in discussions with another organization that certifies sustainability of fish and seafood.

In 2009, Overwaitea became the first major chain to sign on with SeaChoice.

Jenna Stoner, a spokesperson with SeaChoice, said there are no allegations involving Overwaitea’s food quality, just problems with data flow.

“It is a fairly data intensive process,” said Stoner. “The reality is that if you’re selling seafood you should be able to tell your customers where it was caught and how it was caught. The consumer supply chains should be traceable. Consumers want to know these things.”

SeaChoice’s retail partners include Federated Co-op, Buy Low Foods, Safeway Operations–Sobeys and Nesters.

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