fishermen look down at a net and boat on a lake
Press release

New "Fish Forward" Partnership Supports Sustainable, Eco-Certified Fishing in Manitoba

November 29, 2022

November 24, 2022, WINNIPEG—“Fish Forward” was launched at SMITH Restaurant today by provincial, national and international organizations who are working together to ensure that Manitoba lakes are sustainably fished, Manitoba fisheries are safeguarded for future generations, and Manitoba businesses are serving local fish that comes from increasingly sustainable sources.

Fish Forward encourages and supports Manitoba fisheries to achieve and maintain Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) eco-certification and connects them with industry partners such as restaurants, stores, fish buyers and food service providers who are seeking to source fish products from sustainable fisheries, an identified need in the marketplace.

Guests at the launch of Fish Forward were served MSC certified sustainable lake fish from the Cedar Lake Walleye and Northern Pike Fisheries in Chemawawin Cree Nation, that achieved MSC certification earlier this month.

“In 10 years, fisheries won’t be able to sell fish that isn’t eco-certified,” said Floyd George, President of the Cedar Lake Walleye and Northern Pike Fisheries. “Achieving MSC certification and working with Fish Forward helps us reach new buyers and make sure the fishing industry is alive and well for generations to come.”

Cedar Lake Fishery and Waterhen Lake in Skownan First Nation (the Métis communities of Mallard, Rock Ride and the Village of Waterhen) are now the only sources of MSC certified sustainable northern pike in the world.

“Skownan First Nation has always practiced sustainable fishing,” said Wesley Catcheway, President of Waterhen Lake Fishers in Skownan First Nation. “Eco-certification helps us to maintain the practices passed on from our elders, watch how much we catch and make sure we don’t hurt the lake.”

Waterhen Lake was the first freshwater fishery in Manitoba and Canada and the second in the world to achieve eco-certification in 2014. Waterhen Lake was recertified in 2020.

“This partnership was formed because the players saw gaps and challenges that were inhibiting Manitoba fisheries from embarking on eco-certification,” said Dimple Roy, Director of Water Management at International Institute of Sustainable Development (IISD). “Fish Forward is designed around the needs of fisheries, helping them navigate the process and providing supports along the way.”

“We urgently need solutions that will allow us to feed the world while protecting the planet and safeguarding livelihoods. Sustainable, aquatic foods hold incredible potential,” said Kurtis Hayne, Program Director of the MSC in Canada. “Partnerships like Fish Forward are instrumental in encouraging and rewarding both sustainable fishing and consumption.”

More information on Fish Forward is available on the partnership’s new website.


We see a future where our lakes are sustainably fished, our fisheries are safeguarded for future generations, and our local businesses are serving Manitoba fish that comes from increasingly sustainable sources.

Fish Forward is a partnership of provincial, national and international organizations working to ensure the sustainability of Manitoba’s fisheries.

The organizations leading Fish Forward are: Indigenous Services Canada, the Province of Manitoba, the Marine Stewardship Council and the International Institute for Sustainable Development.

Indigenous Services Canada’s support for Fish Forward is part of the broader Indigenous Inland Commercial Fisheries Initiative (IICFI). The IICFI brings together federal, provincial and Indigenous partners in Manitoba and Saskatchewan to sustain and grow the Indigenous commercial fishing industry. The IICFI is funded through the Indigenous Services Canada’s Strategic Partnerships Initiative program. 


For more information, please contact:

Sumeep Bath

Editorial & Communications Manager

IISD Experimental Lakes Area


About IISD

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 250 experts come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.