Only sustainable fish our plates
So much more than delicious. That’s what you’ll say about the fish and seafood product ranges available in our stores. They are also fished or farmed responsibly, with respect for people and the environment. We work with certification organisations (MSC and ASC) and independent researchers (ILVO) to safeguard and strengthen the sustainability of our products. In 2012, we adopted a broad approach to all aspects of sustainability. Today, we have already made tremendous strides and we continue to make every effort to protect the biodiversity of our seas and oceans.
What is sustainable wild-caught fish?
These include: cod, Alaska pollack, witch flounder, catfish, plaice, halibut, pollock, etc.
We want to protect the biodiversity and the natural resources of the seas. We do this by following 3 basic principles:
- Sustainable fish stocks – We do not sell overfished or endangered species.
- Reducing the impact on other marine life as much as possible – Our suppliers do no use fishing methods that damage the seabed or result in excessive levels of by-catches. (‘By-catch’ means marine animals that are caught unintentionally during fishing for a different species.)
- Effective fisheries management – We only work with fisheries that put in place effective and responsible fisheries management.
Colruyt Group uses the MSC-standard for every fish species that has this certification. MSC is an international and reputable certification that respects the 3 basic principles mentioned above and is based on scientific insights. MSC covers the assessment of fisheries, verification by means of independent audits, and the traceability of all fish. MSC-certified products carry the MSC-label on their packaging.
If MSC-certification is not available for a particular fish species, we ask ILVO (Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research) to carry out an independent evaluation. They use the same 3 basic principles.
An increasing number of fisheries are making the switch and are starting to work more sustainably, encouraged by Colruyt Group’s efforts.
What is sustainably farmed fish?
Some examples of this are: salmon, pangasius, tilapia, trout, scampi, etc.
All the fish farms that supply us are committed to responsible farming of fish and shellfish. They do this by:
- preserving ecosystems and minimising the environmental impact
- avoiding water pollution
- only using sustainable fish feed
- applying strict standards for the use of antibiotics and other medication. The use of antibiotics is strictly limited to emergencies and in some cases even completely prohibited (e.g. in scampi farming).
- respecting the appropriate work practices and closely monitor the social conditions in the fisheries.
Colruyt Group has opted to use the ASC-standard for all fish and shellfish for which it is available (17 species).
ASC is an international and reputable certification that respects stringent sustainability principles and is based on scientific insights. ASC covers the assessment of fish farms, verification by means of independent audits and the traceability of all fish. ASC-certified products carry the ASC-label on their packaging.
In addition to ASC, Colruyt Group also sells farmed fish (such as salmon) that carry the European organic label. This guarantees that they are sourced from organic farms. The legal standards are set by the European Union and are tested throughout the chain by independent audits.
What does the EU organic label mean in practice? Fish are only given organic feed (without GMOs). They have more room to move in the water (lower fish density than for conventionally farmed fish). The farmer gives preference to using natural treatments. The use of colouring agents is also strictly forbidden. And thanks to continuous environmental monitoring, environmental impact is kept to a minimum.Click here for more information
Making positive choices for the environment
According to the latest report by MSC and ASC, published in June 2019, Colruyt Group is Belgium’s leader in sustainable fish.
No other Belgian retailer offers such a large number of MSC- and ASC-certified products within their private label range. This report looked at all products that have fish as their main ingredient. Alongside fresh fish, this also includes pre-packed, breaded or smoked fish, frozen fish, canned fish and jarred fish.
Page 8 of the report shows a very interesting comparison between Colruyt Group and other Belgian retailers: www.msc.org/docs/default-source/nl-files/rapport_msc_2019_be_print_04_lr.pdf?sfvrsn=27be64d6_0
Our results for wild-caught fish and shellfish
- For wild-caught fish (both fresh and frozen) we offer 97.4 % certified and verified products in the ranges of our private labels Boni Selection, Everyday, OKay and Culino.
- 67.5 % of our wild-caught shellfish is MSC-certified and we continue to work on the ILVO sustainability verification for the products that do not qualify (yet) for MSC certification.
- 66.7 % of our canned fish products are MSC-certified,
- and specifically 50 % of our canned tuna is MSC-certified. For the other tuna products, Colruyt Group is part of the TUPA initiative (Tuna Protection Alliance) to increase and monitor the sustainability of tuna. This means that we test our purchasing policy against sustainable principles: no illegal catches, diversification of species and catch areas to maintain tuna stocks, etc. We no longer buy tuna from catch areas where tuna is overfished. Click here for more information on TUPA: www.earthworm.org/our-work/projects/tuna-protection-alliance.
We continue to strive for better quality
By progressively and carefully certifying or verifying the range of fish products in this way, we can reject products that do not meet the quality and sustainability requirements that our customers demand. This is how we monitor the sustainability of our entire fish supply. "The demand for sustainable products and transparency continues to grow," says Philippe Toussaint, sustainable sourcing manager at Colruyt Group. That's why the certificates are so important. For our customers, the independent certification labels such as MSC, ASC and BIO are reliable ways of recognising sustainable fish.”
Our results for farmed fish and shellfish
- 80.3 % of our farmed fish is certified by a recognised inspection body such ASC or BIO.
- 100 % of our farmed shellfish (such as scampi) is certified by a recognised inspection body such ASC or BIO.
There are various labels and screening techniques for sustainable fish.
- The MSC label applies to wild-caught fish, shellfish and canned fish. MSC can certify about 92.4% of our wild-caught fish (fresh and frozen), 67.5 % of our wild-caught shellfish and 66.7% of our canned fish.
- For aquaculture, we use 2 important and reliable certifications: ASC and BIO. 80.3 % of our farmed fish and 100 % of our farmed shellfish are certified by ASC or BIO. Unfortunately, there is no ASC standard available yet for some farmed fish species (e.g. sole).
With this initiative, we contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.