McDonald’s, U.K. retailers snag award for cod fishery

McDonald’s, Tesco and Icelandic Seachill, along with several other leading seafood processors, trade associations and retailers, received the Responsible Business Award for their self-imposed ban on cod fishing.

At the recent Ocean Awards, the Responsible Business Award was awarded to the Industry Group Agreement that applies to the cod fishery in the northern part of the North-East Atlantic, in recognition of the self-imposed precautionary ban on fishing of potentially vulnerable areas that may have arisen due to climate change.

The Ocean Awards, given in partnership with Blue Marine Foundation, celebrate individuals, companies, legislators and projects that have made outstanding contributions to the health of the oceans.

McDonald’s, Birds Eye, Findus, Iglo, Young’s Seafood, Espersen (Europe’s largest processor of frozen fish), Asda, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and several fishing organizations signed the Industry Group Agreement last May. They pledged not to expand activities with trawl gear into those areas where regular fishing has not taken place before, in a stretch of the Arctic that extends north from the Norwegian and Barents seas around the islands of Svalbard in Norway to the North Pole, encompassing both Norwegian and international waters.

The agreement prohibits companies fishing in those waters from selling their catch to processors or retailers, including the Russian harvesting sector, represented by the Union of Fish Industry in the North, NOREBO Group, Eurofish Group and Archangelsk Trawl Fleet and Fiskebåt (the Norwegian Association of Owners of Fishing Vessels, which represents 90 per cent of Norway’s ocean-going fishing fleet).

“It was a privilege to play a part in this landmark agreement by the responsible fishermen who catch and care for the cod we all enjoy,” said Nigel Edwards, technical and CSR director for Icelandic Seachill. “We want to add our thanks for their willing commitment to care for the environment in the pristine waters of the Arctic. This will also help to secure the long-term sustainability of the fishery, as demonstrated by its certification to the Marine Stewardship Council standard."


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