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Loblaw Seafood Purchase Efforts Lauded

Salmonids Sustainability Economics +5 more

CANADA - Loblaws efforts to net all of its seafood products from sustainable sources by next year are commendable, says a marine co-ordinator in Halifax.

Loblaw has done a good job, Susanna Fuller, with the Ecology Action Centre, said in an interview. But theres always room for improvement.

According to Herald Business, Canadas largest grocery chain said it has tripled the number of Marine Stewardship Council-certified, wild-caught seafood sold in its stores.

And it is offering WiseSource Salmon, a company initiative to meet or exceed standards being developed by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, in more Loblaw stores in Atlantic Canada, Ontario and Quebec this year.

Loblaw has also introduced a vendor questionnaire to improve the management of its seafood-buying process.

For the balance of the year, Loblaw remains focused on increasing engagement with consumers, suppliers and key industry stakeholders, Paul Uys, Loblaws vice-president of sustainable seafood, said in a news release.

Other environmental groups applauded Loblaws sustainable seafood efforts.

Gerald Butts, president and chief executive officer of World Wildlife Fund Canada, said Loblaw has the worlds most aggressive sustainable seafood commitment.

Through its collaboration within the supply chain, investment in education, and stakeholder and government engagement, Loblaw is driving large-scale transformational change, Mr Butts said.

Kerry Coughlin, regional director for the Americas with the Marine Stewardship Council, commended Loblaw for introducing 73 fresh, council-certified seafoods in its stores.

Loblaw remains the largest seller of MSC-certified products in Canada, she said.

The council is an independent, non-profit global initiative that has developed standards for sustainable fishing and seafood traceability.

Loblaw said it is also working to source viable, closed-containment aquaculture operations.

Land-based, closed-containment aquaculture systems have been cited as a more environmentally sensitive way to farm fish than open-pen operations, which critics say pollute oceans and threaten traditional fisheries.

Open-pen fish farms have come under fire in Nova Scotia recently. Cooke Aquaculture of New Brunswick has had to destroy hundreds of thousands of farmed salmon with infectious salmon anemia near Shelburne.

The provincial government has defended and promoted open-pen aquaculture, saying that closed-containment aquaculture systems arent commercially viable.

Ms Fuller said some food retailers on Canadas West Coast, including Target and Safeway, are taking open-pen farmed salmon off their shelves out of consumer concerns. She said Loblaw is actively investigating closed-containment systems, which can be found in Nova Scotia.

Loblaw officials could not be reached for comment on whether the company may consider pulling open-pen farmed salmon from its product line.

Ms Fuller called the Loblaw update a pre-emptive announcement in advance of Greenpeace Canadas upcoming supermarket seafood sustainability ranking.

Loblaw finished on top of last years ranking of eight major Canadian food retailers, she said.