The Co-operative Group has been ranked top in the Marine Conservation Society's (MCS) Supermarket Survey 2011, scoring 84% and earning a gold award for sustainable seafood.
As one of the most sustainable seafood retailers in the UK, The Co-operative was praised for its product labelling, Responsible Fish Sourcing Policy and sustainability initiatives.
The retailer doesn't sell any of the products identified by MCS's "Fish to Avoid" list and all its own-brand tuna is now caught using the pole and line method. Pole and line fishing is a more selective fishing method which results in less by-catch*, which reduces the impact of fishing on the biodiversity of a region.
According to The Co-operative Ethical Consumerism Report, last year, UK sales of fish from sustainable sources grew 16.3%, from £178m to £207m, twice the rate for total fish sales which increased 8.2%.
The Co-operative Food's Responsible Fish Sourcing Policy governs the sourcing of all its own-brand wild and farmed seafood including all food products, which contain fish, from ready meals to sandwiches. Each own-brand product is assessed to confirm the source is a responsible fishery, examining the individual species based on fishery location and method of catch, species' resilience to fishing, by-catch estimates and whether species are endangered.
Sean Toal, Acting chief executive at The Co-operative Food, said: "To top the Marine Conservation Society Supermarket Survey demonstrates our commitment to responsible sourcing and sustainable seafood. Our Responsible Fish Sourcing Policy, engagement in seafood sustainability initiatives and the work we have done to eliminate 'Fish to avoid' identified by MCS scored particularly highly."
Source: The Co-operative
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