For Dutch, sustainable seafood a passion

Published on
April 19, 2012

Buying sustainable seafood during their weekly shopping trips is quickly becoming a way of life for Dutch consumers. Nearly 100 percent of wild, private-label seafood sold at Albert Heijn, the Netherlands’ largest supermarket chain, and Lidl, the discount supermarket chain based in Neckarsulm, Germany, with around 10,000 stores throughout Europe, is Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified.

The other major Dutch grocery chains are also working toward becoming fully sustainable, after they all committed to a goal of using 100 percent MSC-certified seafood in their wild, private-label products by 2011. 

“All the retailers now have a large selection of MSC-certified seafood. Albert Heijn is the king, and all other retailers in the region are between 80 percent and 90 percent,” says Nathalie Steins, manager of the MSC Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) office.

On top of that, upscale fish market chain Fishes of Spakenburg, Netherlands, sells only seafood that is MSC-certified seafood or is on the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) “green” list. 

When the grocery chains committed to MSC for their wild, private-label products in 2007, it forced major seafood brands and private-label suppliers to begin the MSC certification process. 

“[The retailers] really triggered the Dutch fisheries into getting their act together,” says Steins. 

It’s also had a ripple effect in Europe: In Denmark, competing retailer groups Coop, Dansk Supermarked and SuperGros — which together represent 97 percent of the Danish market — united last month to promote MSC-certified seafood. 

Click here to read the full story from the April issue of SeaFood Business magazine >

Click here to listen to Blank’s “From the Source” interview with Fishes owner and sustainable seafood advocate Bart van Olphen (available only to SeafoodSource premium members) >

Contributing Editor

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