Woolworths announces sustainable fish sourcing plan

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 18th March 2011

salmon sashimiWoolworths yesterday announced its new sustainable fish sourcing strategy, designed to allow customers to make more sustainable fish choices in both canned and fresh fish.

The supermarket giant made the announcement to coincide with today’s Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) event, Sustainable Seafood Day.

The Woolworths Select private label will now offer MSC-certified canned salmon, with MSC-certified Albacore tuna due to be introduced next month, and has removed the overfished Yellowfin Tuna and Orange Roughy from its fish counters to ease pressure on the species.

“We want to assist customers in making more informed and sustainable fish choices. We are enabling this by providing options, at an accessible price point,” said Woolworths Director of Supermarkets, Greg Foran.

The supermarket is also currently undertaking an assessment with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Foundation of its wild-caught fish, to identify the top four species which are available in sustainable supply. The assessment will assist in identifying fisheries that need improvement in their sustainability practices.

Woolworths plans to offer funding incentives under its Fresh Food Farming sustainable food program to a select number of fisheries in its supply chain, to allow them to conduct MSC pre-assessments and develop improvement plans for more sustainable practices, with the aim of eventual MSC certification.

“By supporting fisheries through the MSC pre-assessment process, and any required fisheries improvements, Woolworths is taking a strong leadership role, and will be working in partnership with the fishing industry to contribute to real improvements on the ground,” said Patrick Caleo of the MSC.

“As a direct result of their support, select fisheries that may not have been able to meet the cost of the MSC pre-assessment can now do so.”

Caleo said it was great to see a supermarket like Woolworths playing a key role in supporting sustainable fishing.

“This is a big step,” he said. “We are extremely pleased to be working with Australia’s largest supermarket chain to help transform the seafood market to make it more sustainable.

“By introducing MSC certified canned Salmon and Albacore Tuna, Woolworths are providing consumers with the tools to make more informed choices, and are making a real commitment to helping safeguard fish stocks for future generations.”