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Casinos of Winnipeg commit to serving sustainable fish

Manitoba province in Canada has become home to the world’s first MSC certified casinos.

Building on its commitment to sustainable sourcing, Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries today announced it has received Chain of Custody (CoC) certification from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to serve certified sustainable products at the Casinos of Winnipeg.  

Guests at Club Regent Casino and McPhillips Station Casino now enjoy certified sustainable Manitoba-harvested pickerel (walleye) bearing the blue MSC label. This signifies the fish is from an environmentally responsible, well-managed fishery.

First Canadian freshwater fishery

The first ever casinos to enter the MSC program join 3,050 companies and 270 fisheries worldwide that are contributing to making a difference on our waters by transforming our freshwater fish and seafood market to a sustainable basis. Opened in 1993, the Casinos of Winnipeg operate five restaurants and an entertainment centre, and serve 9,000 meals each week.

The pickerel is sourced from Waterhen Lake Fisheries, the first Canadian freshwater fishery to achieve MSC certification (in 2014) and only the fourth in the world. The fishery is operated by the Lake Waterhen Fishermen’s Association with continued support from the Chief and Council of Skownan First Nation, located in the Interlake Region of Manitoba.

“The Casinos of Winnipeg are demonstrating early support for a vital growth area in our province’s commercial fishery – that of an eco-certified catch,” said the Honourable Ron Lemieux, Minister Responsible for Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries.

“Waterhen Lake is truly world-class in its eco-certification. Casino of Winnipeg guests are not only being served some of the best pickerel in the world, but they are ordering it in confidence that they are supporting healthy lakes and healthy communities. Opportunities like these showcase that Manitoba is where Canada’s Heart Beats.”

Sustainable procurement policy

Local Waterhen Lake pickerel allows casino chefs to further their commitment to “Buy Manitoba” while providing Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries with an important tool in advancing the implementation of its sustainable procurement policy.

“The MSC applauds the commitment to sustainability demonstrated by the Government of Manitoba,” said Jay Lugar, MSC Program Director for Canada. “First through their support of the Waterhen Lake fishery certification, and now by completing the cycle of sustainable supply through the CoC certification for the casinos.”

The MSC program is widely recognized as the world’s most credible standard for wild-caught sustainable seafood and supply chain traceability. When a seafood product bears the MSC label this signals that the companies in every step of the chain – from the fishers, to the processors, to the distributors, restaurants and retailers – have achieved MSC certification from an independent certifier.

This proven traceability mechanism assures consumers that from fishery to fork, their seafood can be traced back to an MSC certified fishery and that it has not been mixed or substituted for non-certified fish. Adding to its success in the ocean, use of the MSC Standard has been expanding to support not only healthier oceans but freshwater lakes and rivers as well.