World’s Most Sustainable Retailer Wants Certified Pacifical Skipjack
The world’s most sustainable retailer is urging tuna purse seiner owners active in a Pacific fishery to start catching sustainably, so it can meet the “very high” consumer demand for environmentally friendly canned tuna.
Coop – the largest retail and wholesale company in Switzerland – says it is disappointed with the total lack of sustainable tuna supply from tuna purse seiners active in the Central Pacific Ocean, within the waters of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) fishery, which gained the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) eco-label nearly a year ago.
“The demand is very high for Coop,” says Rodrigo Wangler, one of the company’s buyers. “The Swiss customers really trust MSC.”
With strong commitments to seafood sustainability, Coop is the top retailer in the world with probably the highest percentage of MSC-certified products, says Wangler. In the fresh, frozen and smoked assortment, MSC products account for 65% of the company’s total turnover with wild-caught seafood.
In 2011, Coop was selected as “the world’s most sustainable retailer” by the Germany-based, Oekom Research agency after it evaluated 130 of the largest retailers worldwide.
“We are ready to pay a fair premium for canned MSC-certified tuna. MSC is a well-established sustainability-logo within our fish product range and our customers are looking for it,” says Wangler. He adds their customers have “good trust” in Coop to provide sustainable seafood items, including MSC-certified canned skipjack tuna.
The Swiss chain expected its first shipment of the PNA’s MSC canned tuna – co-branded as Pacifical – in September, but fishermen and canneries in the region are not cooperating.
Instead of setting their purse seine nets around mature, free swimming schools of skipjack tuna, fishermen are still catching unsustainably and often use fish-aggregating devices (FADs), a method that harms juvenile tuna, sharks, turtles and mantas in the process. The lack of cooperation and motivation among the mostly foreign tuna purse seiner owners has led to a delay by the PNA to attain its important Chain of Custody (COC) certification. COC is necessary to ensure the MSC certified catch is kept separate from the non-certified tuna throughout the entire supply chain, and to bring the final canned tuna product to consumers in Switzerland.
Coop is not alone in its quest for Pacifical tuna, as other major retailers and a fish distributor in Europe have also voiced their need for PNA sustainable skipjack in recent weeks. Leading grocery chains in Austria (SPAR) and Denmark (Dansk Supermarked), as well as the Dutch seafood distributor Anova Seafood have all issued public statements expressing their frustration over the delay, and the absence of any certified supply by boat owners licensed to fish in the EEZs of the PNA nations.
The full text of Coop’s letter to the tuna boat owners fishing in PNA waters can be read here.
About Coop: Coop is the largest retail and wholesale company in Switzerland. Coop Group operates store formats in the food, non-food and service sectors. Coop offers the greatest choice of brands in Switzerland and has a broad range of environmentally friendly and socially responsible products, as well as sustainability achievements along the entire value chain. With the full takeover of the Transgourmet Group in 2011, Coop increased its domestic and international commitment in the catering and wholesale supplies business. In total, the Coop Group has around 2,000 retail outlets in Switzerland and over 100 cash & carry markets in Switzerland and Europe. The Coop Group has a workplace of approximately 75,300, with 52,500 employees in retail and production and 22,800 in wholesale. Coop was selected in 2011 by the “Oekom Research” as “the world’s most sustainable retailer” after the evaluation of 130 largest retailers worldwide. Coop has been a great supporter of the MSC: Most of the inclusions of MSC products into Switzerland are largely attributed to Coop commitments and its strong position towards seafood sustainability.
About the PNA countries: The 8 PNA (Parties of the Nauru Agreement) countries are Federate States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu. The Nauru agreement concerning cooperation in the management of the fisheries between these countries was signed on 11 February 1982. These countries together supply 50% of the world skipjack tuna from their waters. On December 13th 2011 the Marine Stewardship Council issued its certification for the sustainably managed free school skipjack purse seine fishery within the waters of these 8 island nations.
About Pacifical : Pacifical c.v is the global marketing company jointly set up by the PNA countries in 2011 to actively trade their MSC certified skipjack. To provide the best possible communication with buyers, and to be geographically close to our target markets, the marketing office of Pacifical is based in the Netherlands. Pacifical MSC skipjack products include: frozen whole round, frozen precooked loins, canned tuna, pouched tuna, tuna meal and tuna oil.