MSC reacts to controversial Loblaws video
A video by WWF Canada for Canadian retailer Loblaws has been pulled from youtube and other video streaming websites after multiple industry groups lashed out against it.
The video was first posted on youtube on 10 September and depicts farm and forest animals being caught up in what appears to be trawl gear. The gear, animals and plants are dragged across and farm landscape. After, an ocean scene is shown and the video asks, “We don’t farm like this. Why do we fish like this?” and concludes with the statement, “Choose MSC certified sustainable seafood.”
The Association of Sustainable Fisheries (ASF) published a statement on 18 September insisting that Loblaws and WWF Canada remove the video from youtube and the Loblaws Facebook page.
“Our members are dismayed that MSC would lend its name to the silly, offensive video produced by WWF Canada for Loblaws. A VP of WWF Canada has told one of our members that it was a Loblaws initiative in partnership with WWF and MSC,” said Christina Burridge, ASF chair in a letter to MSC CEO Rupert Howes.
“The problem should have been obvious to anyone in MSC. To consumers, it sends the message that only pole and line fisheries are acceptable while demonizing the mobile gear used by many of your certified fisheries. Meanwhile the farming analogy is just plain dishonest.”
The video can still be viewed here.
According to the Marine Stewardship Council, the message delivered in the animation is confusing, creates a negative message about some fishing gears and fails to indicate the positive commitment to sustainability made by many fisheries.
“The MSC understands the concerns about the animation recently released by WWF Canada and appreciates their swift action at the request of MSC to remove it from their media channels. The MSC did not participate in the creation of the animation, nor does it endorse it,” said MSC. “The MSC Principles and Criteria for Sustainable Fishing are internationally recognized as setting the highest standard for sustainability of wild capture fisheries. We welcome all types of fishery to apply for assessment against that standard.
“We would point out that currently MSC certified fisheries use a variety of gears all of which have met the MSC’s high standards for sustainable impacts on the environment, and we congratulate these fisheries on their environmental performance.
“Participation in the MSC program continues to grow year on year, receiving support from retailers, governments, non-governmental organizations, conservationists and the fishing industry. The MSC fully supports and celebrates all the fisheries in its program and values their commitment to fishing our oceans sustainably.”