Leading UK retailer Asda today pledged action to ensure the protection of marine wildlife that is ‘protected, endangered or threatened’ by commercial fishing with the publication of a report on tackling the problem of ‘bycatch’ (the accidental catching of non-target fish species).
The report – ‘Minimizing and managing the impacts of fisheries on bycatch of protected, endangered and threatened species’ – is sponsored by Asda and identifies best practices in reducing the impacts of commercial fishing on non-target species while describing several case studies from around the world where successful action has been taken to tackle the problem. Responding to the report, Asda has pledged to take systematic action along with its partner, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, to eradicate bycatch from the fisheries that supply seafood to the retailer. The actions include:
- Reviewing scientific data for all fisheries that supply Asda to assess the extent of the problem
- Prioritizing action in those fisheries where the problems are most severe
- Supporting fisheries that are already taking action to reduce bycatch impacts on protected, endangered or threatened species
- Promoting fishery improvement projects in those fisheries where bycatch is a significant problem
Commenting on the report and the Asda commitment, Dr Chris Brown, Director of Sustainable Business for Asda, said: “Sustainability is not just about the species our customers want to eat; it’s also about the other animals in the marine ecosystem that can be affected by fishing activity. Asda would never sell a fish species that was protected, endangered or threatened but the reality is that some fisheries accidentally catch animals that should be left alone – a problem known as bycatch. Asda wants to see the fisheries that it sources from eliminating bycatch as soon as possible and will actively support its suppliers in tackling this issue.”
Iain Pollard, European Director for Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, said:“Asda is a market leader in promoting sustainable seafood and is consistently at the cutting edge of new ideas and practices in delivering better management of fish stocks and protection of ocean wildlife. The new report we have published today will provide invaluable practical information to those tasked with the business of reducing the impact of fishing on protected, endangered and threatened marine wildlife and it could not have been achieved without the generous support of Asda.”