McDonald's, other industry giants team up to limit Arctic cod catch

Published on
June 6, 2016

Major players in the Arctic cod fishery have come to an agreement that will limit its future catch in the Northern Barents Sea.

Fishing companies Fiskebåt and Karat, processors Espersen, Nomad Foods, Icelandic Seachill, The Saucy Fish Co., Young’s Seafood and retailers including McDonald’s, Tesco, Marks and Spencer and Sainsbury’s have all signed onto an agreement brokered by Greenpeace that will limit the expansion of cod fishing into a previously frozen area of ocean north of Europe that is valued for its ecological significance.

“Today, McDonald’s, Espersen, Young’s Seafood, and Iglo, Findus & Birds Eye and many more have taken action together with the Norwegian fishing industry to safeguard a huge marine area in the Arctic,” said Greenpeace campaigner Frida Bengtsson. “Given the absence of significant legal protection of the icy waters of the northern Barents Sea, this is an unprecedented step by the seafood industry.”

The industry group committed in a written agreement to voluntarily avoid fishing in or buying cod caught in the designated marine area, which is about twice the size of France. The language of the agreement states that the measure is temporary until “improved knowledge [replaces] the need for this precautionary approach.”

“As part of our ongoing commitment to source fish responsibly, Icelandic Seachill and The Saucy Fish Co. are proud to be supporting Greenpeace in their efforts to help protect the marine environment in the Barents and Norwegian Seas,” said Nigel Edwards, technical and corporate social responsibility director at Icelandic Seachill and The Saucy Fish Co. “Together with other businesses operating within the industry, we are proud to be involved in this landmark agreement to take a precautionary approach to fishing in areas that have not been fished before and to take further steps to protect vulnerable marine life in the areas where they currently operate.”

Greenpeace lauded the measure and called for governments of Arctic countries – particularly Canada and Norway – to take action to create marine reserves to protect marine areas controlled by those countries.

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