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Ahead of sustainability deadline, Loblaw adds ASC-certified fish


Loblaw has begun selling farmed seafood certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC). The first product to his shelves recently was a tilapia, sold under the President’s Choice Blue Menu brand.

The package (shown here) bears the ASC logo, indicating the fish was sustainably farmed using ASC criteria.

“Our PC Blue Menu Tilapia is the first ASC-certified responsibly farmed fish sold in our stores and we are very proud to be the first in North America to bring this product to market,” Melanie Agopian, senior director of sustainable seafood for Loblaw Companies, said.

Loblaw will introduce other ASC fish later this year, including tropical shrimp and basa/pangasius fish. It is part of the retailer’s stated goal to sell only sustainably sourced seafood in all its products by the end of 2013. That goal includes not only fresh and frozen fish, but also packaged products that contain fish.

ASC is a not-for-profit organization set up three years ago by the World Wildlife Fund and IDH, the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative. ASC sets global standards for farming seafood.

Other seafood organizations, like MSC (the Marine Stewardship Council) and SeaChoice, are known for setting sustainability guidelines for catching fish in the wild. Loblaw certifies its wild-caught fish through MSC.

Environmentalists have long been concerned about farmed fish, pointing to the waste it creates, as well as the possible spread of disease and fish lice among the farmed fish and the possibility of disease and waste spreading to wild species when farming occurs in open waters.

Since announcing its seafood sustainability goals in 2008, Loblaw has been looking to bring responsibly sourced farmed seafood to its stores.

“We hope that Canadians will agree that we are driving the fish farming industry forward to more responsible methods,” Paul Uys, Loblaw’s vice-president of sustainable seafood, said in a statement.

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