Swiss retailer joins call for sustainable tuna


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
November 13, 2012

A third major retailer is speaking out to the boat owners operating in the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) waters, asking them to focus on sustainable fishing.

Coop, Switzerland's largest retail and wholesale company, issued a letter today promising to pay a premium price for MSC-certified canned skipjack tuna. The fishery, run by eight member nations in the South Pacific, including Federate States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu, is a major supplier of tuna.

Last month, Anova Seafood issued a letter charging the fishermen with not using sustainable fishing practices, and urged the boat owners fishing in PNA waters for changes. Just last week, Dansk Supermarked in Denmark issued a similar letter.

Now, Coop's letter is also asking the purse seine tuna fishers to work more sustainably, indicating its customers want environmentally-friendly tuna. Coop's letter, like the others, accuses fishermen operating in PNA waters of using unsustainable practices such as fish-aggregating devices, which the MSC does not approve of.

“The demand is very high for Coop,” Rodrigo Wangler, one of the company’s buyers, said in a release. “The Swiss customers really trust MSC.”

Coop operates about 2,000 retail outlets in Switzerland, along with over 100 cash and carry markets in Switzerland and Europe. Wangler said MSC products account for 65 percent of the company's total turnover with wild-caught seafood.

The company has a reputation for sustainability. In 2011, Germany-based Oekom Research agency named Coop the world's most sustainable retailer, and Wangler said the company wants to hold onto that distinction.

“We are ready to pay a fair premium for canned MSC-certified tuna,” he said. “MSC is a well-established sustainability-logo within our fish product range and our customers are looking for it.”

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