The big-box king is the only Canadian retailer with a failing score year after year. Its seafood policy is super-vague; stated goals include trying to source only sustainable tilapia, but details are thin. The jumbo-pack purveyor also carries up to eight species red-listed by Greenpeace, including king crab. If you shop here, remind Costco that there aren't, in fact, plenty more fish in the sea.
Sobeys is at the tail end of 3N grocers, although it's currently merging its sustainable seafood policies with Safeway's industry-leading ones since it bought out the chain last year. Let's hope Sobeys swims into first place next year instead of dragging Safeway down a notch. At this point, its sustainable seafood policy should, cover all products with seafood as an ingredient, but it's mostly focused on fresh/frozen/canned seafood to date. The stinker: Sobey's currently sells the most red-listed species of all the major retailers.
Slowly but surely, Walmart's polices are getting tougher on paper, but Greenpeace says the retail giant needs to work harder to make sure customers see those changes on shelves. Case in point, Walmart says it backs greener closed-containment salmon farms but hasn't put any cash toward that goal. Nor does the company plan to ditch any fisheries of concern unless they refuse to join fishery improvement projects. However, Walmart does publicly support ocean sanctuaries, which is important. At this point, you'll still find its bouncing smiley faces promoting seven red-list species including Atlantic sea scallops and haddock.
METRO (Metro, Food Basics)
This Quebec-born chain swam past the national competition into second place this year. Metro's actually conducting DNA testing on seafood to bust labelling fraudsters and has a good in-store education campaign. It has finally, like Loblaw, extended its sustainability policies to all seafood under its roof (not just in the fish section) and even has an in-house brand of good pole-and-line-caught canned tuna (though the rest of its canned tuna line is unsustainable). The chain also supports ocean sanctuaries. Too bad Metro hasn't invested in solutions to major red-list fish like net-pen farm salmon. Plus it sells a total of 15 red-list fish, including monkfish and yellowfin tuna.
LOBLAW (Loblaws, Valu-Mart, No Frills)
When it comes to sourcing sustainable seafood, Loblaw is the big fish amongst national grocers. Okay, so it hasn't met its goal of sourcing 100 per cent green seafood by 2013. Still, 88 per cent of its fresh/frozen/canned seafood satisfies at least one of Loblaw's greening requirements. It was first to carry pet food certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and is an industry leader on the policy front. But while Loblaw has outlawed a handful of species on Greenpeace's red list, there are still 13 red-list fish in its stores, like Chilean sea bass, net-penned farmed salmon and Atlantic cod. Fish-friendly policies are sadly MIA at Loblaw's T&T stores. Ask Loblaw to back ocean reserves.