Press Centre

Asda fish counters receive MSC traceability certification

Fresh fish counters at ASDA have been officially certified under the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) traceability programme to sell products from well-managed and sustainable fisheries, following an independent audit.

The certification means ASDA has successfully met strict standards for traceability enabling it to promote MSC labelled fish for the first time on its fresh fish counters.

Products bearing the distinctive MSC blue label will now start appearing on ASDA’s fresh fish counters, joining the growing numbers already found on its chilled and frozen shelves. The move will make it even easier for customers to make an informed choice about the fish they purchase.

ASDA plans to only stock wild-caught fresh and frozen fish from MSC certified fisheries within the next three to five years.

Last week ASDA took the bold decision to stop selling monkfish in response to concerns it has about the long term survival of the species. It followed a similar move last year when ASDA removed swordfish, shark, skate wings, ling, huss (dog fish) and Dover sole from sale, and suspended the sale of North Sea cod.

ASDA fish buyer, Chris Bates said: “Customers tell us they love our low prices, but want to buy fish with a clear conscience. This certification means all our fish counters up and down the country are now able to sell products from well-managed and sustainable fisheries that meet the environmental standard of the Marine Stewardship Council.”

Rupert Howes, chief executive of the MSC, said: “This initiative by ASDA demonstrates the real progress it is making towards the sourcing all of its wild fresh and frozen fish from MSC-certified sources. By offering clear messaging on sustainable seafood with MSC’s blue eco-label , ASDA is giving customers who are concerned about overfishing much more choice.”

ASDA is working closely with its suppliers to make improvements to the management of fisheries across the globe. As those fisheries improve, ASDA is encouraging them to participate in the MSC certification programme. Measures include working with all stakeholders to strengthen existing management practices, rebuild depleted stocks, reduce the environmental impact of the operation and encourage support for broader marine ecosystem management and protection.

Next month (March 2007) the supermarket plans to launch the UK’s first retailer own label MSC certified frozen fish fingers within its Smartprice range. It is part of ASDA’s strategy to enable all of its customers, no matter what their budget, to purchase ethically sourced products. Sales of eco-friendly fish at ASDA are growing by 40% year on year with customers in Manchester proving to be the most ethically minded. The current best seller is MSC-certified Pacific cod.

Posted in Press Centre on 05 February 2007