Lidl Ireland commits to 100% sustainably sourced fish by end of year

Not just fishing for compliments: Marine Stewardship Council impressed with retailer's efforts, noting that it already offers an excellent choice of sustainably sourced fish in-store



17 January 2019

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Lidl Ireland has committed to providing 100% sustainably sourced fish through its growing network of 159 stores across Ireland by the end of the year.  

The issue has become an increasingly important one in recent years, with 33% of global fisheries now fished beyond sustainable limits due to overfishing and illegal fishing. While the world’s population continues to grow, it is expected that the demand for fish will continue to put further pressure on global fish stocks.

What’s more, consumers are now more aware of environmental and social issues in food supply chains and are adjusting their shopping habits to be more responsible with their purchases. With this in mind, in recent years Lidl reports it has worked closely with suppliers to develop its responsible sourcing policies in many product categories including fish.

Sustainably sourced credentials

Already, 80% of wild-caught chilled and frozen fish available at Lidl Ireland is certified to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard. The MSC is an independent, non-profit organisation established to address the problem of unsustainable fishing and safeguard seafood supplies for the future.

At present, 65% of Lidl’s farmed fish is sourced from independently certified sustainable fisheries (ASC or Global G.A.P.) which the retailer says will reach 100% by the end of 2019. Already, 100% of Lidl’s canned tuna is responsibly sourced using either the pole and line fishing method, FAD-free (fish aggregating devices) fishing methods or is MSC-certified.

George Clark, senior commercial manager UK & Ireland at the Marine Stewardship Council said it is “it is fantastic to see such strong commitment” and added that with 80% of Lidl’s current chilled and frozen wild range being MSC certified, the retailer “is already providing consumers an excellent choice when in store”.

Working with Irish suppliers

To meet this goal, Lidl has been working closely with its Irish suppliers, including Bantry-based Keohane’s Seafoods. Lidl first began working with the family-owned business in 2012, enabling them to expand and grow their business. Seven years later, the company now has 160 employees across two facilities in Cork city and Bantry. Keohane’s Seafoods supplies a range of products to all Lidl stores across Ireland and Northern Ireland and earlier this year, signed a contract to supply packaged salmon darnes to 120 Lidl stores in the UK.

Mike Keohane, managing director, Keohanes’s Seafoods, also pointed out that the company is also “working with Lidl towards sustainable packaging including moving away from unrecyclable black plastic which will be hugely impactful”.

Tackling plastic pollution

Liam Casey, commercial director at Lidl Ireland said that as well as its certifications and support for Irish Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) with Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Lidl has also joined the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI). This is a global cross-sectoral alliance committed to driving solutions to the problem of lost, abandoned and otherwise discarded fishing gear (also known as ghost gear), which accounts for about 10% of plastic pollution in the sea. 



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