Sustainable fisheries

In our dining halls, we are proud to offer McGill students, faculty, staff and visitors seafood that has been caught or farmed responsibly.

In fact, McGill is the first Canadian University to be recognized by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and receive the MSC Chain of Custody Certification.  

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Chain of Custody is particularly valuable to SHHS, as it was obtained through the efforts of an Applied Student Research class of students. In 2015, MSC certified species accounted for 25.4 percent of all seafood served.

McGill Food and Dining Services received the Marine Stewardship Council Chain of Custody certification on February 11th, 2013, becoming the first Canadian post-secondary institution to be recognized by the MSC for its commitment to serving sustainable seafood.

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), an international non-profit organization set up to help transform the seafood market to a sustainable basis, maintains the most widely respected and accepted global standard for the certification of wild capture seafood.  The program is based on a rigorous, science-based standard and independent, third-party assessment by internationally accredited certification bodies.

We are proud to offer McGill students, faculty, staff and visitors  the opportunity to support sustainably managed fisheries by choosing MSC certified seafood in four residential dining halls, namely, Bishop Mountain Dining Hall, Carrefour Sherbrooke Dining Hall, New Residence Dining Hall and Royal Victoria College Dining Hall.

The McGill dining halls prioritize Wildplanet canned wild skipjack tuna because it employs small-scale producers who use low-impact fishing practices for skipjack tuna only from pole and troll fisheries. This catch method is widely recognized by various international environmental organizations like Greenpeace and the Montery Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch as best practice in harvest technique.

Ranked as the number 1 canned tuna in sustainability by Greenpeace (2017).

Why commit to sustainable seafood?

For decades we have behaved as though the oceans could provide us with an unlimited supply of seafood. Overfishing has created a crisis for world stock levels. In the last 50 years, we have reduced the biomass of fish like cod, tuna, grouper and shark in the oceans by 90% and killed many species through unintended by catch. The livelihoods of fishers are increasingly threatened by economic collapse. The need for marine conservation has never been more urgent.


What is the Ecolabel ?

The Marine Stweardship Council (MSC) Ecolabel is the globally recognized mark for seafood that can be traced back through every step of the supply chain to the well managed and sustainable fishery that caught it.

Look for the MSC Ecolabel in our four residential dining halls which identifies the following species as MSC certified.

  • Alaska Pacific Cod from the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands
  • Northern shrimp from the Gulf of St. Lawrence
  • Alaska flatfish from the Gulf of Alaska
  • Flatfish from the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands

What is a well-managed and sustainable Fishery?

Principle #1 Sustainable fish stocks The fishing activity must be at a level which is sustainable for the fish population. A certified fishery must operate so that it remains productive for existing users and for future generations.
Principle #2 Minimizing environmental impact Fishing operations should be managed to maintain the structure, productivity, function and diversity of the ecosystem on which the fishery depends.
Principle #3 Effective management The fishery must meet all local, national and international laws and be able to respond to changing circumstances and maintain sustainability.


The McGill ENVR 401 Applied Student Research

McGill Food and Dining Services, worked in partnership with a passionate group of students from the McGill ENVR 401 Applied Student Research, who, supported by McGill's Sustainability Projects Fund, worked diligently to see the certification through to completion.

The accomplishment of such an important project took well over two years and MFDS would like to particularly thank Oliver De Volpi, Executif Chef, Operations and Sustainability who led the project and Will Agnew, ( BA'11), for his dedication and hard work throughout the process.

For more information:

  1. The Marine Stewardship Council, visit:
  2. The McGill Reporter:
  3. The Marine Stewardship Council press release:




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