Press Centre

Asda band sale of monkfish amid concerns over it's long term survival

Supermarket ASDA has today (Thursday, 1st February 2007) taken the dramatic step of banning sales of monkfish from all of its stores across the UK*.

It believes the move is vital to save stocks of the vulnerable fish plunging to levels where it may disappear from our seas all together. And it is calling upon leading chefs Rick Stein, Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay to support the move.

Chris Brown, ASDA’s sustainable and ethical sourcing manager said: “Our customers expect us to do everything we can to protect wild fish stocks, so we’ve decided to ban monkfish sales as a precaution until the industry takes appropriate action to ensure its long term survival.”

“We are concerned about some of the catching methods that are used and the impact this has on the marine ecosystem. Monkfish are slow to reproduce, therefore the species is more at risk than others and more needs to be done to protect it.

“Monkfish is still a favourite dish on the menus of top restaurants all over the UK – which is why ASDA believes that leading chefs also have a pivotal role to play in helping to conserve dwindling stocks.

Chris Brown added: "We would like to see celebrity chefs take monkfish off their menus until the long term viability of this species is clearer. Top chefs can drive sales of ingredients sky high over night simply by using them in their TV programmes or mentioning them in interviews.

“Now we would like to see them use this power to encourage people not to buy monkfish, or any other vulnerable species, so that we can protect stocks for generations to come.”

Oliver Knowles of Greenpeace said: “ASDA’s decision to stop selling monkfish demonstrates the company’s serious commitment to sourcing only sustainable seafood. With concerns growing over the management of this particularly vulnerable species, this type of precautionary approach shows real leadership and should be noted by the other major supermarkets.”

He continued: “With significant amounts of monkfish coming from the beam trawl fishery, ASDA’s decision to stop selling this species is a significant step away from this type of destructive fishing.”

ASDA is the only major supermarket to have taken the decision to ban monkfish. The retailer believes that it can persuade customers to substitute other fish species for monkfish.

Said ASDA’s Chris Brown: "Yes, it won’t be easy and this decision will initially cost us sales. However, if we don’t act then the ocean will pay an even greater price – and we’re not prepared to see that happen.

“We are in the middle of a long term plan to increase awareness of fish sustainability issues and believe that all in the food industry must play their part.”

Posted in Press Centre on 01 February 2007