Woolworths to be ‘certified’ for seafood sustainability, and zoo offers support

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 29th January 2013

Australia’s Woolworths supermarket chain has announced its commitment to have all the wild-caught fish it sells certified by the Marine Stewardship Council by 2015.

Sydney’s famous Taronga Park Zoo has teamed up with Woolworths to launch a new program which aims to improve marine conservation in Australia.

A spokesperson for Woolworths said that 100 per cent of Select canned tuna, which is 1.2million kg of tuna, will be ‘pole and line’ caught by the end of 2013, substantially reducing the amount of bycatch including dolphins, sharks and juvenile tuna needlessly caught in nets.

The campaign aims to combine Taronga Zoo’s experience in conservation education with Woolworths connection to 890 communities throughout its Australian stores.

Managing Director of Woolworths supermarkets, Tjeerd Jegen said that Woolworths wanted to play a role in maintaining sustainable fish stocks.

Its partnership  with Taronga Zoo also involves a multi-million dollar investment over three years, with Woolworths becoming the principal supporter of Taronga’s Great Southern Oceans precinct, which highlights Australia’s marine conservation needs. Funds will also directly support a range of the Zoo’s marine protection programs, working to help species from the Antarctic to the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

The partnership will operate throughout all Woolworths stores around Australia.

Woolworths’ sustainable fishing strategy began in March 2011, and has so far has introduced 17 Marine Stewardship Council-certified products in the canned and frozen range under the Woolworths Select brand.

In addition, 70 per cent of Woolworths’ wild-caught fish sold in its fish counter has been assessed by the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership which has strongly guided Woolworths’ sourcing decisions.

Woolworths has committed to, and been working towards, phasing out fish aggregating devices, which arbitrarily catch many different species aside from the target species, from its own-brand canned tuna by 2015.