Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sustainable fisheries

Although there is alot of discussion going on with the IFMP ( Fishing Plan) for the 2009 commercial fishing season on the north coast, we thought we would revive the blog with a story on sustainable seafood.
The sustainable seafood idea has been touted for a while by various groups along the sea-food chain. Restaurants are using the moniker of 'sustainably caught' to look 'green' and to allay customers fears they are ordering some threatened species or a fish that was caught by destructive means, such as bottom trawling.

Groups such as the Vancouver Aquarium also have sustainable seafood programs to educate consumers and promote better fishing practices. The grand-daddy of them all is the MSC, the Marine Stewardship Council, which 'certifes' fisheries worldwide under a regimen of 'sustainable' criteria. Weve examined the MSC last year a little bit and will hopefully take a more in-depth look at BC fisheries and the MSC process this summer.

Anyways, the point of the post is the article copied below about a Loblaw's supermarket chain announcement. In the press release Loblaw's presents a detailed plan on how they will approach the sustainable seafood issue. At first read the plan appears quite comprehensive and more than just the usual lip service most companies give to this issue.

It is interesting to note that the Executive Chairman of Loblaw's is Galen Weston, whose family had owned a significant portion of the BC salmon fishing industry through BC Packers years ago. And although Loblaw's does not operate in western Canada, by making this type of announcement it could be used as a conduit to apply responsible fishing pressure on the BC salmon fleet.
At present, the biggest and only vertically integrated fishing companyin BC's salmon fishing industry is Jimmy Pattison's Canfisco ( Canadian Fishing Company). Pattison also owns Overwaitea and Save On Foods. We might just bring this move by Loblaw's to Mr Pattison's attention so he could possibly approve similar policies in his companies.

Here's the Loblaw's release:
BRAMPTON, ON, May 20, 2009 (Canada NewsWire) --Loblaw makes responsible, sustainable sourcing of seafood top priority

Today, Loblaw Companies Limited (Loblaw) makes a commitment to source all seafood sold in its retail locations from sustainable sources by the end of 2013. The commitment covers all canned, frozen, fresh, wild and farmed seafood products, in all categories. The Loblaw Sustainable Seafood Policy Initiative represents Loblaw's commitment to conservation of marine resources and a healthy ocean environment.

"The world's oceans are facing an unprecedented crisis," said Galen G. Weston, Executive Chairman, Loblaw Companies Limited. "Loblaw is determined to think differently about how it sources seafood and to work in collaboration with the fishing industry and environmentalists to seek sustainable alternatives for customers."

Available today on the Loblaw website at, the Loblaw Sustainable Seafood Policy Initiative outlines Loblaw's plan to establish a sustainable seafood procurement practice that focuses on responsible sourcing in every category the Company markets. Sourcing sustainable seafood, both fish and shellfish, whether wild-caught or farm-raised, requires greater protection of aquatic habitats and more attention to careful harvesting. The policy calls for some very tough decisions to be made, including the phasing-out of unsustainable supply where it cannot be demonstrably improved.

"This initiative is one of the most ambitious and comprehensive steps we have seen from a grocery retailer in Canada, and indeed the world," said Gerald Butts, President and CEO, WWF-Canada. "We look forward to working with Loblaw to help them achieve the commitments laid out in their policy. When fulfilled, the Loblaw policy will go a long way to help conserve the well being of our oceans and marine life, setting an important example for other retailers to follow."

In 2006, Loblaw developed five pillars of corporate social responsibility: Respect the Environment; Source with Integrity; Make a Positive Difference in our Community; Reflect our Nation's Diversity; and Be a Great Place to Work. The Source with Integrity pillar is the key driver of the Sustainable Seafood Policy. Today's consumers are concerned with the sources of the food they serve their families. Loblaw believes it is important that we address these concerns and clearly communicate with customers Loblaw sourcing practices. In 2008, Loblaw took the first steps to offer sustainable seafood options to customers by launching Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified products and now offers 12 such products. The MSC is an independent international non-profit organization that has set a global standard for the certification of fisheries with environmentally responsible, sustainable fishing methods.

For the next 12 months, Loblaw has committed to achieve the following:

1. Start assessing all sources of wild and farmed seafood, in partnership with WWF.

2. Continue to work through the Company's supply chain for control brand
seafood products to prepare for additional audits to MSC standards.

3. Develop and begin to implement a four-year implementation plan, upon
completion of the seafood sourcing assessment.

4. Identify sources with no improvement potential, which should be
stopped or phased-out as soon as possible, based on results of the

5. Identify and recruit experts in fisheries and marine science provide Loblaw with sound, independent advice, when needed.

6. Confirm Loblaw's policy decisions and communicate these with suppliers, distributors, colleagues, customers, franchisees, the general public, and other external stakeholders.

1 comment:

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