THE fresh seafood counters at select Loblaw Companies Limited (Loblaw) stores in Canada look a little different today as the Company takes steps to meet its goal to source all fish and seafood sold in its stores from sustainable sources by the end of 2013.
Sustainable seafood means that the type of seafood caught can maintain or increase its population in the future without harming the ecosystems from which they come.
At select corporate stores across the country, customers will notice empty trays at the seafood counter, where fish the Company has identified as "at risk" were once displayed. The goal is to create a visual message to help educate customers about sustainable seafood choices. Once a viable sustainable product can be found the trays will be filled.
"As Canada's largest buyer and seller of seafood, Loblaw has taken a hard look at the challenges facing the world's oceans and what it means to us," said Paul Uys, Vice-President, Fresh Foods, Loblaw Companies Limited. "We believe it's critical that Canadians understand this important issue, and the changes at our fresh seafood counters are among the first steps we have taken to educate customers as to why Loblaw is committed to sourcing all seafood sold in our stores from sustainable sources."
Loblaw is working with partners such as WWF-Canada and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) as well as marine scientists, conservation experts and fisheries to meet its commitment.
"Research is telling us that a lot of the fish and seafood we eat are seriously depleted because of overfishing and other unsustainable fishing practices," said Dr. Jeffrey Hutchings, Professor of Biology and Canada Research Chair in Marine Conservation & Biodiversity at Dalhousie University, and an advisor to Loblaw. "We live in the country with the longest coastline in the world and our rich heritage in fishing extends back more than 500 years. As Canadians, we cannot afford to ignore our collective responsibility to recover the health of what lives in the oceans. We need to better educate ourselves so that we can make better choices when eating seafood and products that contain seafood as an ingredient."
To help Canadians make better choices, in addition to the changes to the fresh seafood counter, Loblaw will offer sustainable seafood guides in-store, promote products certified by MSC in the February 2010 President's Choice(R) Healthy Insider's Report(R), and host a new Facebook page, www.facebook.com/LoblawSustainableSeafood, to share information about Loblaw's seafood sustainability commitment and progress.