ASDA JOINS CALLS FOR COMMON FISHERIES POLICY TO BE SCRAPPED
ASDA today (Tuesday, 05 September 2006) joined calls for Britain's withdrawal from the Common Fisheries Policy in order to protect the livelihoods of local Scottish fishermen and preserve fish stocks in the North Sea.
Gordon Maddan, regulatory affairs manager at ASDA said: "We want all the fish we sell to be sustainable. It's very clear however that the Common Fisheries Policy has failed to deliver this so we are now supporting calls for a radical change in approach."
The supermarket believes a new management regime, devised by fishermen and taking on board the views of NGOs and other stakeholders should replace the CFP. It would give fishermen a stake in managing the stocks on which their livelihoods depend.
Gordon added: "We believe independent certification is the only way to secure the long term future of Scottish fisheries. We're already working closely with the Scottish Executive, Scottish Fishermen's organisations and the Marine Stewardship Council to try and bring this about."
Earlier this year ASDA announced it was dramatically changing the way it sources fish, bringing its sustainable fish policy into line with its parent company Wal-Mart.
Within the next three to five years, ASDA will only stock wild-caught fresh and frozen fish from fisheries that meet the Marine Stewardship Council's (MSC) independent environmental standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries.
The decision means dozens of products bearing the MSC’s distinctive blue eco-label have started appearing on the supermarket's shelves. As part of its new sustainable fish policy, ASDA has already removed shark, skate wings, ling, huss (dog fish) and Dover sole from sale.
ASDA suspended the sale of North Sea cod in May this year (switching to fisheries in Iceland and Norway) while it works with EU Fisheries (DG Fish) and the North Sea Regional Advisory Committee to establish a stock recovery plan for the species. However it continues to sell Scottish caught haddock in all its stores in Scotland.
The supermarket is calling for the North Sea to be declared a marine conservation zone to preserve fish stocks for local fishing communities. It believes commercial fishing of the North Sea should be limited to local fishermen who depend on it for their sole income and who use recognised sustainable fishing practices.
The Fishermen's Association Ltd (FAL) and Save Britain's Fish (SBF) have been campaigning for UK withdrawal from the Common Fisheries Policy for the past 10 years, saying that thousands of fishermen have lost their jobs as a direct result of EU conservation policy. They estimate between 2001 and 2004 196 vessels over 10 metres have been scrapped, and that 1100 boats have left the UK fleet in the 20 years since the UK joined the Common Market.
Last week campaigners for Britain's withdrawal from the Common Fisheries Policy also welcomed the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation to their ranks.