BRUNSWICK’s business is seafood products. We support global policies and management initiatives that ensure the long-term sustainability of these resources.
As Canada's leading supplier of shelf stable seafood, Connors Bros. Clover Leaf Seafoods Company was the first company in our industry to begin implementation of a corporate initiative to lead the industry in ensuring the sustainable management of the world's canning grade seafood species (including tuna, salmon, sardines and clams). We are committed to effecting change that will preserve our precious resources for generations to come.
GOAL: To source all of our seafood products sustainably.
What this means to us is:
- Fish comes from a fishery where the amount of fish being caught and the number of fish in that fishery are such that they will be similarly available to future generations;
- We know where the fish came from, how it was caught, where it was processed and how it got to you;
- The fish was harvested legally;
- The fishery is managed using scientific data and takes into account any impact of fishing on related species and ecosystems.
- The North American Atlantic Herring fishery is strictly managed by the USA and Canada to maintain healthy fish populations and marine environments for years to come.
- Our sardines are traceable back to their fishing vessel and location.
- We fund scientific research that helps us continuously assess and improve our approach to the species we sell.
To view our full sustainability policy, see the Sustaining Fisheries section of our sister company Clover Leaf's website.
BRUNSWICK® Canada sells only North Atlantic Herring (Clupea harengus, above). Juveniles are canned as sardines, while larger fish are sold as Seafood Snacks.
Because the resource is located in waters that are subject to federal jurisdiction in Canada and combined federal & state jurisdiction in the United States, the Atlantic herring fishery is supervised by a number of regulatory authorities.
- In the United States, the herring fishery is regulated by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (responsible for federal waters, generally defined as the area from three to 200 miles offshore), the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC), the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), and individual state governments.
- In Canada, the herring fishery is regulated by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).
- The NEMFC is a federal agency responsible for preparing and submitting management plans for fisheries requiring conservation and management off the coasts of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
- The ASMFC coordinates the management of fishery resources within state waters, generally within three miles of the shore.
Canadian and U.S. fishery regulators have divided their coastal waters into several management areas, based on an assessment of many factors including seasonal distribution and availability of fish, regional differences in the nature and degree of harvesting and processing activity, differences between inshore and offshore fishing grounds and habitat, and the location of known spawning grounds. This allows for tailored conservation measures to be put into place according to the state of each stock.
- The key measures used by fishery regulators to assess the health of the herring resource are spawning stock biomass (the total weight of the mature herring population capable of reproducing) and age composition (provides a forward-looking assessment of the resource based on the maturity of fish in the overall stock).
- Both the DFO and the NEFMC publish stock assessments and fishery evaluation reports based on their respective analyses of the herring resource, which are used to establish fishery management plans for the areas under their jurisdiction.
- These fishery management plans typically include catch limits or quotas that are based on an estimated maximum sustainable yield for the fishery, which represents an estimate of the total amount of herring that can be harvested without adversely affecting biomass or spawning stock biomass over time.
- The DFO and the NEFMC also attempt to ensure that no overfishing occurs in any particular age group of the biomass, especially those younger than three to four years, as this is the age at which herring first mature and spawn.
- In conjunction with their assessments of the maximum sustainable yield, fishery regulators also establish a total allowable catch (TAC) for each of the defined fishery management areas. These TACs are set and reviewed annually based on changes in the use of the resource and information on the distribution or relative size of the herring spawning components.
In Canada, the harvesting of fish in the waters off Atlantic Canada is primarily regulated by the DFO through the Fisheries Act (Canada) and the Atlantic Fishery Regulations (1985) made under that Act. These regulations provide for the registration of vessels and fishermen and for the issuance of licenses to catch specific species of fish.
The licenses set out conditions for fishing, which may include the species that may be caught, the type and quantity of gear to be used, the waters in which fishing is permitted, the period during which fishing is permitted, the vessel which may be used, and the persons permitted to operate the vessel. The DFO also licenses weirs and regulates their location and operation.
In the United States, management of the fishery within the U.S. exclusive economic zone (from 3 to 200 miles offshore) is the responsibility of regional fishery councils (including the NEFMC) under the U.S. Federal Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. State legislation governs the fishery in inshore waters and is coordinated by the ASMFC under the U.S. Federal Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act. Fisheries management plans and associated rules & regulations developed by the NMFS and corresponding state agencies set out the terms on which fishermen may participate in a fishery. The TAC established by the NMFS for a designated area is not allocated among individual participants – instead, it is issued on a total fleet basis. Once the TAC for an area is reached, the herring fishery for that area is suspended.