Greenpeace Targets Loblaws for Selling 'Red List' Fish

Greenpeace today littered eight Toronto-area Loblaws stores with yellow crime scene tape and posters containing the message "caught red-handed selling red list fish" as part of a nationwide campaign targeting retailers it says are marketing seafood species harvested or farmed in an unsustainable and environmentally destructive manner.

Greenpeace says Loblaws, Canada's largest supermarket chain, sells 14 of the 15 species on the NGO's "red list," which include Atlantic cod, Atlantic salmon, Atlantic sea scallops, Chilean sea bass, haddock, swordfish and bigeye, bluefin and yellowfin tuna.

"We are asking Loblaws and other retailers to take the pressure off threatened fisheries now by purchasing their seafood only from sustainably managed fisheries," says Beth Hunter, oceans coordinator for Greenpeace. "If they don't, there soon won't be any fish left to sell."

Loblaw Cos. Ltd.'s banners include Atlantic Superstore, Maxi, Provigo, Zehrs and Loblaws. The company is based in Brampton, Ontario.

In June, Greenpeace released a 56-page report criticizing Canadian retailers for failing to implement adequate sustainable seafood purchasing policies. The report, "Out of Stock: Supermarkets and the Future of Seafood," targets Canada's eight largest supermarket chains: Loblaws, Sobey's, Metro, Wal-Mart, Costco, Safeway, Overwaitea and Federated Cooperatives.

Also in June, Greenpeace unveiled a 77-page report, "Carting Away the Oceans: How Grocery Stores are Emptying the Seas," ranking 20 U.S. retailers according to their sustainable seafood purchasing policies. Supervalu, Trader Joe's, Meijer, H.E. Butt and Price Chopper were at the bottom of the list, while Whole Foods Market, Ahold USA, Harris Teeter, Wegmans, Wal-Mart and Target were at the top. Every retailer on the list received a failing grade.

John Hocevar, oceans campaign director for Greenpeace-USA, told SeaFood Business last month that the eco-activist group is re-releasing its U.S. report card in early December, and this time around not every U.S. retailer will get a failing grade.

Hocevar expected Whole Foods' and Ahold USA's grades to improve, because since then Whole Foods has strengthened its farmed seafood purchasing criteria, and Stop & Shop and Giant Food, which are owned by Royal Ahold, has stopped selling three red list species (Chilean sea bass, orange roughy and shark).

"Rather than just leave [retailers] hanging, we wanted to give them credit. We wanted to acknowledge that they're making progress," Hocevar explained. "But the other side of it is that there's more of a spread than there was six months ago. Several [retailers] haven't made any progress at all."


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