'Productive, profitable and safe'
Huw Thomas describes Morrisons' seafood sustainability strategies.
Morrisons knows its customers want their seafood to be caught and farmed from responsible and sustainable sources. We will always aim to source fish which is only farmed or caught using methods which are the least harmful to the marine environment.
We ensure our suppliers have easy access to Morrisons' seafood sourcing policy which defines the steps that we take and that we expect our suppliers to also adopt. This policy even includes suppliers in categories as diverse as prawn sandwiches, pet food and ready meals.
The seafood sourcing policy is built on three pillars; environment, social and economic – as separating them ignores policies formulated by the Food and Aquaculture Organisation and other National and International bodies.
A key aspect of our approach is direct engagement with the people who supply our seafood.
Seafood supply chains are complex and the issues facing them are even more so. However by talking directly to fishermen, producer organisations, inshore fishery conservation authorities, environmental NGO's, government bodies and other stakeholders we are able to find common goals and solutions to problems that have often been deemed 'too difficult to tackle'.On many occasions it becomes obvious through dialogue that we all want to achieve the same thing.
Morrisons and other retailers are often accused of not supporting the industries that supply them. We hope that through our discussions with key stakeholders and introducing improvements that benefit all parties, the fishing industry doesn't have the same view.
Fish is increasingly recognised as an important source of healthy food but we continue to face challenges to increase consumption. The consumer perception is often that fish is complex to cook, smells, and has too many bones in it.
By working collaboratively with our supply chains we can promote fish and seafood to our customers whilst being confident in the knowledge that our supplies are coming from safe, responsible and sustained sources.
Independent third party certification is an integral part of the assurance that we need to demonstrate to customers. It would be wonderful if everyone was satisfied with our verification of our supply chains but unfortunately this isn't the case. Third party certification at each stage in the supply chain is therefore important and we have recently extended this to fishing boats through the Seafish Responsible Fishing Scheme (RFS).
RFS, which is due to be re-launched next year; provides us with objective evidence that fishermen are acting responsibly, safely and within the legal framework provided, handling the catch to maximise quality. As Dr Tom Pickerell of Seafish recently blogged “Commercial fishing has become more than just about the environment; the social responsibility aspect of fishing is clearly just as important as ensuring stocks are managed effectively."
At Morrisons we work with our supply chains to ensure a productive, profitable and safe fishing industry which is fundamental to our seafood offering.
Huw Thomas, Fisheries and Aquaculture Manager at Morrisons.