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Smarter Seafood

“For the sound management of marine resources”

 Since the summer of 2009, Exploramer proposes the “Smarter Seafood, for the sound management of marine resources” certification program that encourages restaurants and fish markets to offer lesser-known products chosen from the numerous edible species found in the St. Lawrence Gulf, in the prospect of sustainable development and the protection of biodiversity.


By integrating new marine species in restaurant menus and fish markets, Smarter Seafood aims to 1) bring the population to diversify its consumption of Quebec’s marine products and therefore 2) allow fishermen to diversify their catch and in this way, 3) contribute to reducing pressure on species at risk.


Waved whelks, ocean pout, sea urchins, kelp, rock crab and Greenland halibut…25 marine species and 5 species of algae are listed by the program in 2014.


Look for the Smarter Seafood logo in Quebec restaurants and fish markets and “Dare to taste!”



The edible species certified by smarter seafood

Smarter Seafood promotes lesser known species of the St-Lawrence Gulf in the prospect of sustainable consumption.


 Dare to taste!


Each year, according to the recommendations of researchers and biologists, Exploramer draws up a list of marine species corresponding to the following four criteria:


1- the species must be edible,
2- in sufficient quantity in the St-Lawrence Gulf,
3- the fishing technique used must be respectful of the seabed,
4- the species must be little known (unknown, underdeveloped, under used, undervalued underestimated) on the consumer market and therefore able to support (take on, put up with, profit from, meet with) more extensive marketing.


With the Smarter Seafood certification, restaurants and fish markets of Quebec agree to promote lesser-known marine species that are both delicious and nutritious.


Look for and taste marine products bearing the Smarter Seafood logo (symbol) in restaurant menus and in fish markets. Delicious gourmet discoveries in store for you!






Scientific methodologie

In order to ensure the success of the Smarter Seafood certification programme, it is necessary to be transparent concerning the scientific methodology used in the elaboration of the list of species.


First of all, it is important to understand what the designation “Smarter Seafood” means. In order for a species to be considered Smarter Seafood, it must meet the requirements of 4 selection criteria. All species that do not fulfill one or the other of the requirements will be rejected from the list.


The selection criteria are the following:


1) The species must be edible

The species must be fit for human consumption.


2) in sufficient quantity in the St-Lawrence River
Whatever the species and for whatever population, it must not be a designated one following the designation criteria in effect at the COSEWIC.


The COSEWiC is the evaluation committee for endangered species in Canada. Every year it evaluates and designates wild endangered species in Canada. The species must have the “not at risk” status attributed by the COSEWIC to meet this criterion and this for all its populations. In other words, a species having the “not at risk” designation for its population in the south of the Gulf but having the status of “special concern” for the estuary population will not be put on the list.


3) the fishing techniques must respect the seabed.

Fishing must be made with devices that are in accordance with the notion of sustainable exploitation.

We designate instruments that conform with the notion of sustainable exploitation those that do not perturb or very little (having no or very little impact on) the habitat that the seabed represents in such a way that fishing can be maintained over several years without the destruction of the habitat.


Trawls and drags are not considered to conform with the notion of sustainable exploitation, save for the trawl used for fishing Northern shrimp which has been modified so as to meet with this criterion. Where species captured with the help of different fishing devices are concerned, they can be considered Smarter Seafood if the majority of the catch is made with instruments that conform with the notion of sustainable exploitation.


4) The species must be relatively unknown on the consumer market
The degree of commercialization is evaluated by the MAPAQ. The level of commercial development rating is divided into several categories: inexistant, weak, growing, average and elevated. For a species to be considered Smarter Seafood, it must have a level of commercialization that is equal or inferior to average.


*Please note that species from aquaculture can be considered Smarter Seafood. The term “aquaculture” will then be indicated in parentheses to the right of the common name of the species on the Smarter Seafood list. Criteria 2 and 3 are not applicable in these circumstances.


The Smarter Seafood list is entirely revised each year according to a strict process.


To establish the list of Fourchette Bleue species, the biologists at Exploramer first make an inventory of all the edible species found in the St. Lawrence Gulf.


Following that, a collection of scientific and commercial data is made with the help of researchers from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and with the specialists at the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ).


Then, a first selection is made by crosschecking the data put into place by the biologists at Exploramer.


Finally, the list is presented to a committee of socio-scientific experts for a final ratification.

Entreprises who wish to obtain the certification

The Smarter Seafood certification interests you?

You must know…


For 2014, the cost of certification is $100 per enterprise. This allows the use of the Smarter Seafood trademark for one year. The amount also includes promotional tools directly related to the certification, that is: promotional poster, information brochure, identification tools as well as a presence on the WEB. A $100 invoice will be sent with the protocol of agreement.


For restaurants, a minimum of two different dishes have to be proposed on the menu during the certification period. Furthermore, these must be available at all times for a period of one year.


For fish markets, a minimum of two species must be presented for the certification period.

The certification in two steps:


1) Activate Javascript to e-mail us to get the specifications concerning the details related to the certification.
2) Ask for and sign the protocol of agreement.

Think green!