Fish and shellfish from sustainable stocks

S Group's grocery stores want to offer customers responsibly caught fish from sustainable stocks. Therefore, S Group adheres to the fish and shellfish policy based on the species endangerment classification, WWF's seafood guide, the recommendations of the Marine Conservation Society, as well as research data from the Natural Resources Institute Finland.

S Group's fish and shellfish policy and the procurement principles for private label tuna were updated in autumn 2016. Manufacturers of private label products will be required to comply with specific restrictions concerning species, regions and catching methods as well as to participate in the operations of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF). Large purse seine vessels supplying tuna should also be registered in the ISSF's Proactive Vessel Register.

Ensuring the responsibility of tuna and its production chain is important, since some tuna stocks suffer from overfishing. In addition, the tuna fishing industry is shadowed by the risks of illegal and unreported fishing and human rights violations. Operators who participate in the activities of the ISSF are committed to using responsible fishing methods and allowing third-party audits on their operations.

In S Group's fish list, subspecies of tuna are still categorised on the yellow and red lists. For example, the endangered southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii) is not accepted in the product range. Skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis), the most common tuna subspecies, and albacore (Thunnus alalunga) are accepted in the product range with certain limitations concerning regions and fishing methods. In addition, an MSC-certified option is still available in S Group's range of private label canned tuna. The certification ensures responsible catching and production.

In addition to the stricter fish policy, S Group's grocery stores grew the share of MSC-certified products in their product range considerably in 2016. At the end of the year, the product range included as many as 86 MSC-certified products, whereas the equivalent number was 53 in 2015. The share of MSC-certified products increased in the range of frozen fish and shellfish from last year's 25 per cent to 54 per cent.

Photo: 123RF / Ramon Grosso Dolarea