Sustainably sourcing seafood

Sustainably sourcing seafood

Queen’s new policy will help efforts to reduce global overfishing. 

March 23, 2021


Photograph of Leonard Hall on Queen's campus.
Sustainable seafood will be used at all campus dining locations operated by the university, such as Leonard Hall. (University Communications.)

Many fish stocks around the world are used at increasingly unsustainable levels, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. This has negative impacts on both aquatic ecosystems and the communities around the world who depend on seafood as a primary source of protein.

To help fight against this global problem, Queen’s Hospitality Services is working with Aramark, the university’s foodservices provider, to source all seafood served at campus dining locations from suppliers with sustainable practices. This new policy took effect in February 2021.

“By committing to sustainable seafood, Queen’s will contribute to the protection of the world’s oceans and the preservation of underwater ecosystems. As a university that provides meals to thousands of people on a daily basis during a typical year, our choices can have a real environmental impact, so it is important for us to promote sustainable food service wherever possible,” says Jessica Bertrand, Wellness and Sustainability Manager, Hospitality Services.

When procuring food for the Queen’s campus, Aramark will select only seafood product that has been certified by a recognized third-party sustainable seafood certifier, such as Ocean Wise or the Marine Stewardship Council, as identified by Canada’s SeaChoice seafood guide or the Monterey Bay Aquarium seafood watch guide.

Sustainable seafood will be used at all Kingston campus food services operated by the university. These currently include the three campus dining halls, Lazy Scholar, and Location 21. As more on-campus services resume after the pandemic, all other Queen’s-branded retail locations, along with the Donald Gordon Hotel and Conference Centre and Queen’s catering, will also serve sustainable seafood.

A variety of sustainable seafood options are now available to the campus community, including tuna sandwiches, daily in retail locations, as well as salmon, haddock, and basa on a rotating basis in the dining halls.

This new policy is the latest sustainability initiative implemented by Queen’s Hospitality Services. Among other accomplishments over several years, the unit has reduced consumption of single-use items, increased food donations in the community, decreased food waste, and increased the amount of food procured from local and regional farms. Recognizing these efforts, Sustainable Kingston named Hospitality Services its Organizational Sustainability Champion of 2019.

Learn more on the Hospitality Services website.

Promoting sustainability across the university

Moving to sustainable seafood is a part of Queen’s goal to promote sustainability on campus and around the world. Last fall, Queen’s signalled its commitment to sustainability by taking part in the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings, which evaluate higher-education institutions by the work they do to advance the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

By procuring only sustainable seafood, the university is contributing to SDG 14: Life Below Water, which focuses on conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas, and marine resources.

Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane has also proposed that Queen’s align itself with the UN SDGs in his emerging strategic vision, which he has recently been discussing with the university community through a series of online town hall events.

Learn more on the Principal’s website.