August 4, 2008


Dutch retail consortium promises to market only certified fish 


A consortium representing 99 Dutch retailers has pledged to market only Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified wild-caught fish and GlobalGap certified farmed fish by 2011.


The Dutch Association of Food Retail (Centraal Bureau Levensmiddelenhandel – CBL), which includes Albert Heijin, Laurus, C1000, Wholesale Super Unie and other companies with around 4 500 stores, made the announcement after a six-month review.


The move towards the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified wild-caught fish was a nod to sustainability, an issue that concerned more seafood companies as ocean stocks dwindle.


GlobalGap has standards for farmed salmon and farmed shrimps. Other species include tilapia and pangasius catfish are being farmed.


CBL members are planning to shift all farmed fish purchases to GlobalGap certified products by 2009. In addition to the MSC and GlobalGap commitments, the CBL is working to develop interim improvements in fish harvesting methods.


Gus Pastoor, President, of the Dutch Seafood Processors Association, hailed the idea, calling it an ambitious plan but noted that getting all the disparate parties involved would be a major challenge due to the tight timetable.


Although the current decision is to sell only MSC certified wild caught fish, many in the industry argue that other fisheries should be allowed if significant improvements can be achieved.


Others say alternative sustainability certification schemes should be allowed, aside from the MSC.

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