Tesco to require brands to use sustainable tuna

Tesco has announced plans to ensure that all tuna sold at its stores is sustainably sourced, helping consumers make sure they are buying environmentally friendly fish.

The move is part of a set of measures announced in partnership with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to make sure more of the seafood it sells is sustainable.

The chain plans to rapidly expand use of the MSC-labelling in its stores.

Earlier this month Tesco introduced MSC labelling in its stores on 28 different types of chilled prepacked fish, including cod fillets, smoked kippers, haddock fishcakes and fish fingers. 

Later this month MSC-certified fish will be introduced at its 656 fish counters.

The labelling system will be extended to various lines of frozen fish later this year.

Tesco said that since 2012 its own-brand tuna has been caught using pole line fishing – a manner of fishing ensures other species such as sharks, dolphins and turtles are not harmed. Pole and line caught tuna was also used as an ingredient in own-brand sandwiches, pastas and salads.

The company plans to extend these requirements to branded suppliers to Tesco. It says while it will allow brands sufficient time to meet them it expects their plans to be “ambitious, credible and publically communicated”.

Rupert Howes, chief executive of MSC, said: “As the UK’s biggest supermarket chain, Tesco is uniquely positioned to help British shoppers to put MSC eco-labelled, sustainable fish on the table.

“By helping their customers to choose certified sustainable seafood, they are also helping them to recognise and reward sustainable fishing, ensuring healthy fish stocks, and healthy oceans for generations to come.”

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