Co-op supermarket to sell only sustainably sourced tuna

The Independent reports, 26th January 2017: The Co-op is cracking down on the supply and sale of unethically sourced tuna, holding some of its biggest brands to account.

The high street retailer has said that it had imposed a deadline of the end of the year by which all of the tuna it sells, including branded canned tuna supplied by the likes of Princes and John West, must be sourced from fishery projects — or so-called FIPs — that demonstrate their sustainability through an independent assessment process and are working towards certification from the Marine Stewardship Council.

The Council, an international non-profit organisation, was launched in 1996 to address the problem of unsustainable fishing and safeguard seafood supplies for the future.

“Consumers are rightly concerned about fish stocks and the methods used to catch fish. We’ve been a leader in sustainable tuna sourcing but have now extended our commitments,” said Cathryn Higgs, head of food policy for the Co-op. In 2016, 45% of tuna used in Co-op own brand products was sourced from a FIP.

Last year, Tesco said that it would remove some John West tuna products from the shelves after the company failed to meet the retailer’s sustainability standards.

That came after John West, which is Britain’s biggest tuna brand, in 2015 was accused of breaking a promise to its consumers by continuing to use destructive fishing methods to catch tuna.

Earlier it had promised customers that it would make all its tuna sustainable by 2016, but by October of that nearly all of its tuna was still being caught in nets using so-called Fish Aggregating Devices, or FADs.

John West at the time defended itself, saying that the global supply of pole and line caught tuna had reduced significantly since their sustainability promise.

In a statement Thursday, Paul Reenan, managing director of John West, said that he welcomed Co-op’s extended tuna commitment and that it “mirrors that of John West”.

“We are pleased to confirm that all of our supply to the Co-op will meet its new sustainability commitments and deadline,” he said.


Source: The Independent, 26th January 2017. For the full details see

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