At Clover Leaf, we pride ourselves on our extensive knowledge of seafood and our willingness to provide information. Here are a few frequently asked questions. Please select a category and click on a question below.
Questions - Sustainability
- Does Clover Leaf Seafoods practice sustainable fishing that ensures the health of fisheries and ecosystems?
- Are the tuna fisheries in trouble?
- Why did you receive a low score on the Greenpeace canned tuna report?
- What is a FAD?
- How does a FAD work?
- Why do vessels use FADs?
- What fishing methods utilize FADs?
- How are FAD fisheries managed?
- What does the RFMO do?
- What is the impact of using FADs?
- What is being done to minimize the impact of using FADs?
- What is the rate of bycatch when fishing on FADs?
- What is the concern with Pole and Line fishing?
1) Does Clover Leaf Seafoods practice sustainable fishing that ensures the health of fisheries and ecosystems?
Clover Leaf Seafoods is very committed to responsible, sustainable fishing practices and global resource management. As our primary business is seafood, it is imperative – in fact, it is inherent to our mission – that we adhere to practices and policies that ensure long term sustainability of our fisheries resources.
Clover Leaf, along with WWF (World Wildlife Fund), scientists and other global tuna companies, is one of the foundering members of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), and in fact the only Canadian tuna company to participate. The ISSF stands for scientific fact-finding to identify best practices and ecologically sustainable solutions, using direct action to compel governments and industry leaders to support that scientific reasoning while advocating for continued improvement in all tuna fisheries. The list of accomplishments is impressive, and can be found at iss-foundation.org.
2) Are the tuna fisheries in trouble?
The concern most often heard in the media regarding the depletion of tuna stocks is usually about Bluefin tuna which is used in sushi, not canned tuna.
The species of fish used in Canada for canned tuna (skipjack, albacore, yellowfin) largely are abundant. To ensure these resources remain abundant, we continue to be very engaged with third party experts and the global seafood and fisheries to assess fish stocks and ensure they are being managed in a sustainable manner. This includes being a founding and active participant in the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF). ISSF has partnered global scientists, tuna processors covering more than 70 percent of the world’s packaged tuna production, and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – the leading environmental organization – to make more profound commitments to managing ocean resources. Clover Leaf produces canned tuna only from fisheries that are deemed sustainable by the ISSF.
3) Why did you receive a low score on the Greenpeace canned tuna report?
Greenpeace does not disclose how they evaluate companies, but regardless, we know with great certainty that Clover Leaf Seafoods, one of the founding members of the ISSF (International Seafood Sustainability Foundation) working with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), other scientists, and the Regional Fisheries Management Organizations is ensuring our fisheries and oceans remain healthy. In fact, we are the only Canadian tuna company member.
Sustainability is a complex issue, and if you are interested in reading more, click here for Greenpeace positions vs. the science based facts. Greenpeace does not employ scientists.
4) What is a FAD?
A fish aggregating device, or FAD, is simply a floating object that attracts fish. There’s the natural type and man-made. Natural FADs are commonly logs, branches and debris left in the environment. Man-made or artificial FADs are either drifting or anchored, and constructed of bamboo and other floating materials with panels of netting submerged underwater.
5) How does a FAD work?
Fishers use sonar or electronic buoys to monitor and relocate FADs. Enhanced technology helps to determine if the object has attracted tuna and if so, would calculate whether travelling to that location to fish is worthwhile.
6) Why do vessels use FADs?
It is an extremely efficient way to fish. Free-swimming schools are difficult to chase after and catch successfully. With the enhanced technology, FADs allow a vessel to take a targeted approach, thus saving on time, resources and minimizing fuel consumption.
7) What fishing methods utilize FADs?
Both Purse seine fishing and pole & line fishing utilize FADs.
8) How are FAD fisheries managed?
Generally, highly migratory tuna fisheries are managed by RFMOs – regional fisheries management organisations. These are governing bodies created by treaty amongst coastal nations and distant water fishing nations fishing a common region of ocean.
9) What does the RFMO do?
RFMOs adopt conservation management measures, set quotas, authorise vessels and fulfill a host of related management responsibilities.
Supporting the RFMO’s in each of the world’s major oceans are scientific bodies that develop fisheries science and provide conservation recommendations to be taken up by the RFMO member nations.
Purse seiners are required to meet certain requirements and follow guidelines set out by RFMOs, like registering, submitting data and adhering to conservation management measures.
The most common form of management in FAD fisheries has been temporary closures to fishing in areas of high concentrations of small tunas. Such restrictions are currently being enforced in all oceans.
10) What is the impact of using FADs?
The capture of small, non-targeted tunas is the biggest concern in purse seine FAD fisheries. While vessels set out to fish for skipjack tuna – a species that is healthy in every region it’s found – they can also catch tuna from stocks that are not as healthy, or are even overfished. In addition, the catch of small individuals of species can be wasteful, because these stocks could support much higher yields if the individuals were allowed to mature before being caught. Scientists recognize this and, in recent years, have been aggressively studying and researching the use of FADs, their impact and ways to reduce the negatives.
11) What is being done to minimize the impact of using FADs?
The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) is facilitating a globally coordinated, three year, at-sea research project to identify best practices, new techniques and enhanced technologies that will allow fishers to minimize the amount of non-targeted fish and other marine life captured as a result of fishing for tuna.
This research is being shared with vessel crewmembers through workshops, encouraging communication for an immediate impact on the practices of fishers who supply the world’s processors with tuna.
Additional research is underway to gain a comprehensive understanding of the impact of all fishing methods on the environment, including sustainability of pole & line bait fisheries, and fuel consumption of all vessel gear types used to fish for tuna.
12) What is the rate of bycatch when fishing on FADs?
Bycatch in purse seine FAD fisheries - the catch of marine life fishers did not set out to target - is largley other non-targeted, small tuna. Other species of fish, sharks and other marine life can also be captured incidentally.
The amount of bycatch in purse seine FAD fisheries can vary widely depending on the region, time of the year, vessel, crew experience and other factors. Typically, bycatch in FAD-based tuna fisheries is made up of other fish, sharks and rays, averaging about 5% of the total catch. Unassociated purse seine sets, or fishing without FADs, results in less bycatch, ranging on average from 0.5% - 1%.
In addition to bycatch of non-target species, purse seine FAD fisheries generally catch more small, non-targeted tuna than bycatch. This can represent from 15-20% of a purse seine FAD set catch.
13) What is the concern with Pole and Line fishing?
The biggest issue with pole and line fishing is that these vessels need to capture baitfish from largely unmanaged fisheries and growth of this form of fishing leads to significant issue within the world’s bait fisheries.