UK retailer commits to Seafish responsible fishing scheme

British retailer Marks and Spencer committed on Tuesday, 19 April to the Seafish responsible fishing scheme, which promote better environmental and social standards in the fishing industry.

The retail chain, which has more than 850 stores in the United Kingdom as well as another 150 international stores, will require the U.K. fishing vessels supplying it with seafood to be certified as adhering to the Seafish RFS by 2017 and all international vessels to be certified by 2021.

“We’re passionate about being a responsible retailer. We only buy fish from the most sustainable sources, a commitment we’ve worked tirelessly on for almost 20 years, and this pledge means our customers can shop with us knowing we’ve done everything possible to protect the marine environment and those working in our fish supply chain,” Marks and Spencer Director of Food Andy Adcock said.

Seafish is a government-aligned organization in the U.K. promoting seafood sustainability. The Seafish RFS seeks to implement best fishing practices through the implementation of standards for fishing vessels, equipment and captain and crew training. Requirements include training in quality management, the use of selective fishing technology, reduction of discards and management of waste, and crew competence and certification in safety, catch handling and hygiene.

Marks and Spencer is the first retailer to make a worldwide commitment of this kind, according to Seafish Technical Director Tom Pickerell.

“The commitment from [Marks and Spencer] is another huge boost for RFS and it further marks the intent of the UK seafood industry to be recognised worldwide for its work on reducing social and welfare issues.

“There is a collective call for seafood to be socially responsible as well as environmentally sustainable and as a result we are working with fishermen at the heart of that supply chain to demonstrate adherence to best practice in crew welfare," Pickerell said.


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