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Co-operative Backs Fish Fight Campaign

Sustainability Politics +2 more

UK - The British supermarket chain, the Co-operative Group has backed the campaign to reduce the number of fish discarded in the seas around the UK.

At present, half of all fish caught in the North Sea is being discarded because of the current quota system imposed by the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

The Co-operative, which applies its own Responsible Fish Sourcing Policy to all its own-brand fish, including canned and frozen, and all own-brand products containing fish, such as sandwiches, is supporting the campaign to reform the Common Fisheries Policy.

Sean Toal, the Group’s Commercial Director for Food, said: “We want to see an end to this senseless waste, and we are calling on Commissioner Damanaki, the new EU Fisheries Commissioner, members of the European Parliament and state governments to use their influence to stop this unacceptable and shameful practice.”

The Co-operative is already working to reduce discards by supporting the Cumbria Discard Reduction Programme, an innovative project co-ordinated by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas).

This project brings together scientists and fishermen to develop solutions to reduce fishery discards. The Co-operative is co-funding the project which will work with the Cumbrian nephrops (scampi) fishery to reduce discards in the Irish Sea in 2011. A similar Cefas project, Project 50 per cent, has already been very successful in reducing discards of the Devon beam-trawl fishery, with discard rates falling by more than 52 per cent. Both 50 per cent and the Cumbrian project were commissioned and funded by Defra.

Last month, The Co-operative also committed to sourcing 100 per cent of its own-brand canned tuna from fisheries employing the sustainable pole and line fishing method by the end of 2013.