Tesco take action to improve marine sustainability
As a global retailer and the UK’s biggest fishmonger, Tesco has a crucial role in promoting healthy oceans and fish stocks, and preserving its resources for future generations.
Our marine sustainability agenda focuses on three key areas: the health of fish stocks; impacts on non-target species and the health of the marine ecosystem. As part of our Little Helps Plan, we are committed to sustainably sourcing all our wild fish. We work with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership and other partners to assess risks and drive improvement in the fisheries we source from.
We are committed to sustainably sourcing all our wild fish, and work with our suppliers to engage in Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs). We offer a growing range of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified seafood, with over 180 lines including fresh, frozen and canned. The MSC’s logo reassures our customers that the fish is caught in a sustainable way that prevents over-fishing and protects the marine environment. In 2020/21, 63% of our wild fish was MSC certified. The industry-loss of mackerel certification heavily impacted our percentage and through our memberships of the North Atlantic Pelagics Advocacy (NAPA) group we aim to help recover mackerel’s MSC certification and thus increase the percentage of wild-caught seafood certified to MSC in the coming year.
We are also working to ensure that all our seafood can be traced back to the boat that caught it, and we adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.
We are part of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative to help reduce ocean pollution from waste abandoned by the fishing industry. Through the initiative we support a project called “Fishing for Litter” in Scotland that sees fisherman collecting discarded fishing equipment and marine litter during their fishing trips.
Our approach includes working with our suppliers to drive innovation that protects the health of target fish stocks, reduces the impact of fishing on non-target species and the wider marine environment, and reduces dependency on wild fish to feed farmed fish.
We are currently undertaking trials of new alternative feed sources, such as algal oil and insect feed, in our supply chain.
We know that parts of the seafood industry are also linked to poor working conditions and sometimes forced labour. Through multi-stakeholder programmes (such as Project Issara and the Seafood Ethics Action Alliance) we are helping to improve visibility of working conditions and work with the seafood industry to eliminate forced labour in the fishing sector.
Key to sourcing fish sustainably is effective oceans governance. We are therefore actively calling for sustainable fisheries management, improved working standards, effective Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), and mechanisms to prevent plastic and other waste entering the marine environment.
We are also working with WWF and our suppliers to advocate the adoption of a Seascape approach across the wider industry to help protect the health of the entire marine ecosystem. Starting with tuna, which represents one of the biggest challenges in terms of sustainability.
For more information, please see our seafood policy.
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