Did you notice some empty space at the seafood counter in your local Loblaws over weekend? Then it may have been one of the selected locations that no longer sells species that it has identified as “at risk”. On Thursday, Loblaws announced that as part of its overall initiative to source all if its seafood sustainably by 2013, some locations would be removing ‘at risk’ species from its displays but leaving the empty trays to “create a visual message to help educate consumers about sustainable seafood choices.” Once a sustainable source, or replacement, is found then the seafood will be restocked. The shops will also offer sustainable seafood guides to customers. They even have a Facebook page.
It’s an interesting initiative–especially leaving the empty trays in the display counter–but I wonder if it will work? The announcement also comes just a week after the David Suzuki Foundation strongly criticised the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) for certifying all BC Sockeye Salmon as sustainable even though stocks are dangerously low in some rivers. The MSC is one of the organizations that Loblaws is working with to meet its sustainability goals. (It’s also working with other marine scientists, conservation experts and fisheries.) Still it’s a step. A big one. And a step in the right direction.
Another step that I’d love to see in all supermarkets and fishmongers is for them to list the origin of their seafood in a similar way that we can see that our oranges come from Florida and our asparagus from Quebec. Many supermarkets in the United Kingdom already do this. I can’t imagine that it would be that hard to implement in Canada. It only needs the will behind it. I’d also love to see the method of catch listed beside seafood items, which may be a bit more problematic for the seafood industry.
What do you think: Is the Loblaws initiative a good one? What could supermarkets and fishmongers do to help you make sustainable choices at the fish counter?