Britain’s Co-operative Group has announced that it has reaffirmed its pledge to refrain from selling any own-brand or branded yellowfin tuna in its stores amid concerns around overfishing in the Indian Ocean.
The retailer aims to address the issue in the upcoming Indian Ocean Tuna Commission’s (IOTC) annual meeting in November.
A report commissioned by the Global Tuna Alliance declared that a 25% reduction in catch levels would be necessary to rebuild the stock within two generations (based on 2017 stock levels), Co-op added.
'Responsibly Sourced Fish'
Cathryn Higgs, head of food policy at the Co-op, said, “We take our commitments to responsibly sourced fish very seriously and have not stocked yellowfin tuna on our shelves for over seven years.
“We are concerned that Indian Ocean stocks are not being managed effectively and protocols put in place by the IOTC to improve levels are not being enforced.”
Tuna Sourcing Policy
The retailer widened its overall tuna sourcing policy to include branded canned tuna suppliers Princes and John West in 2017.
It also outlined that all own-brand and branded tuna must be sourced from fisheries improvement projects (FIPs), which are working towards MSC certification.
Higgs added, “Whilst we know that some fleets are adhering to reduced catch levels, a more strategic recovery plan needs to be agreed by all IOTC member states before we will even consider returning yellowfin tuna to Co-op shelves.
“We’ll continue to advocate for greater tuna sustainability as part of our role as a founding member of the Global Tuna Alliance.”