By Aisla Jones, Fisheries and Aquaculture Manager
As part of our Future of Food ambition, we’re committed to protecting key ingredients and caring for environments they’re sourced from. We source our seafood using strict guidelines and standards that we and our suppliers stick to – and what’s where my job comes in.
In the last five years, myself and the team have worked hard to increase the number of sustainable Co-op wild capture seafood products to reach over 75% MSC certified. That means the majority of our seafood is certified sustainable and our products are sourced in a responsible way, which supports a sustainable marine environment.
The health of our oceans is under threat. Sadly, climate change, plastic pollution and overfishing all pose challenges to the valuable marine ecosystem. Currently, 90% of wild capture fisheries are either fully or overexploited meaning there’s a risk of more fish being taken than is biologically sustainable. That’s why we’re passionate about sourcing as much as possible from fully sustainable sources to help protect the marine environment.
There’s more work to be done
Whilst our cold-water prawns and white fish come from MSC certified fisheries, our tuna is currently sourced from either from MSC certified or from Fisheries Improvement Projects (FIPs) using the pole and line method. The FIPs we work with are a stepping stone to becoming more sustainable, whilst working towards the MSC standard.
We’re working collaboratively to support eight UK Fisheries Improvement Projects through Project UK, which is explained in the video below.
We also use our voice to advocate for global fisheries sustainability and work collaboratively with industry to lobby governments through initiatives such as the Global Tuna Alliance. Co-op recently reaffirmed our pledge not to source Indian Ocean Yellowfin tuna until there are better management measures in place and the stock is healthy. You can read more in the Guardian article here.
If you’re curious, all of our farmed fish is certified to one of three independent schemes – Aquaculture Stewardship Council, Global Good Agriculture Practises, and Global Aquaculture Alliance Best Aquaculture Practices (4*).
All Co-op fish is responsibly sourced
From Scotland and Indonesia all the way to Canada, our seafood supply chain is a global operation. There’s a huge amount of work and collaboration with our global suppliers to that goes into getting products into our customer hands.
Co-operating for a fairer world isn’t just about what we do today. Our ongoing efforts to protect marine ecosystems means we’re not only protecting our oceans, but we’re protecting global fish stocks for future generations. And, because so much of our wild caught seafood products are MSC certified, it makes us one of the top retailers in the UK who sell sustainable fish.
For more information about our Future of Food ambition, and our commitments to responsible sourcing, please check out our website here. We’re also hosting a Lunch and Learn on Thursday 22 October all about sustainability in this category. If you’d like to join, please sign up here.