UK - Asda has become the first supermarket to publish comprehensive and independent data on the fisheries that supply the company, allowing customers to see how and where its wild fish are caught and how sustainable they are.
To publish the first of its Wild Fisheries Annual Reviews, Asda has teamed up with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership .
The review covers all the source fisheries Asda used between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2013. Not all of the 64 fisheries that supply Asda have data available so the company is working with the eight that don’t to improve the way they report. Asda has also pledged to ensure that all fisheries that need improvement take appropriate action.
Chris Brown, Sustainability Director at Asda, said: “Our shoppers want to know where the wild fish they buy from our stores comes from and how it is caught and that’s why we have released this information. We have worked in partnership with SFP for many years to ensure we have an independent voice assessing our fish sourcing and guiding us toward a sustainable fisheries management programme. We are proud of our achievements to date but we accept that we have further work to do on some areas. ”
The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) has praised Asda for becoming the first retailer in the world to open up its books and give a full disclosure of where and how it sources wild fish.
Blake Lee-Harwood, Strategy Director at Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, said: “This is a milestone in corporate social responsibility regarding the oceans. Asda have taken a bold step in comprehensively disclosing where they source seafood and giving clear information about the sustainability of those fisheries. We look forward to this kind of reporting becoming an annual event and including seafood from aquaculture as well.”
The new report has also been welcomed by Greenpeace and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, both of whom have campaigned for more transparency from supermarkets on seafood sourcing.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall commented: “I applaud this step by Asda to be transparent about all the wild seafood that has their name on it. It shows a mixed picture: over a third of the fisheries are certified sustainable, but several of them - like those for dredged scallops and rays - remain a real cause for concern, environmentally. But it is refreshing to have this sort of openness from one of our biggest fishmongers.
"The next steps must be to improve or find alternatives to the fisheries with the biggest problems, and to make this data accessible to their customers in a way that can guide their choices in the shop. That means clearer labels with the information that shoppers need to help them choose sustainable fish.”
This new report will now become an annual publication for Asda and will allow the public to judge Asda on its track record for sustainable seafood as well as finding out more about individual species. The assessment does not yet cover seafood from aquaculture but it is hoped this information will be included in the next report in 2015.
You can view the full report by clicking here.
TheFishSite News Desk