This week’s Business in Vancouver report on the albacore tuna fishery in BC proves that sustainability in our commercial fisheries is attainable without diminishing economic returns.

Port Alberni fisherman Ian Bryce started pulling tuna out of the water in the mid-1990s when “a lot of [us] former salmon trollers were starting to suffer pretty badly with the decline in fish and fishing opportunities with salmon.” Together with a band of veteran anglers, Bryce created a tuna fishery that would not only support their families, but also carry a reputation for sustainability.

Today, the albacore tuna fishery is BC’s fifth largest single species fishery. It is eco-certified to Marine Stewardship Council standards – with the help of financing from Ecotrust Canada (see that story here). It is a member of the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise conservation program. And, as reported by Lorne Clayton, Executive Director of the Canadian Highly Migratory Species Foundation, which promotes the BC albacore tuna fishery, it “has a haul which sports an annual wholesale value between $25 and $35 million”. BC albacore tuna recently earned a 2011 superior taste award from Belgium’s International Taste and Quality Institute, while the BC Ministry of Health and the BC Centre for Disease Control have upgraded consumption limits for albacore to ‘no limits’.

The trick now is “to let people know at home that we even have this sustainable fishery,” says Clayton. And there’s absolutely nothing fishy about it.

The full story is available (for subscribers only) at