Lidl Ireland has committed to providing 100% sustainably sourced fish through its growing network of 159 stores across Ireland by the end of 2019.
33% of global fisheries have been fished beyond sustainable limits due to over-fishing and illegal fishing. While the worlds population continues to grow, it is expected that the demand for fish will continue to put further pressure on global fish stocks. Consumers have become increasingly aware of environmental and social issues in food supply chains and are adjusting their shopping habits to be more responsible with their purchases. With this in mind, in recent years Lidl has worked closely with suppliers to develop their responsible sourcing policies in many product categories including fish.
Already, 80% of wild caught chilled and frozen fish available at Lidl Ireland is certified to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC*) standard. The MSC is an independent, non-profit organisation established to address the problem of unsustainable fishing and safeguard seafood supplies for the future.
At present, 65% of Lidls farmed fish is sourced from independently certified sustainable fisheries (ASC* or GLOBAL G.A.P.*) this will increase to 100% by the end of 2019. 100% of Lidls canned tuna is already responsibly sourced using either the pole and line fishing method, FAD-free (Fish Aggregating Devices) fishing methods or is MSC certified.
Commenting on Lidls commitment, George Clark, Senior Commercial Manager UK & Ireland at the Marine Stewardship Council said: It is fantastic to see such strong commitment to providing customers in Ireland with 100% certified sustainable seafood. By offering a wide range of sustainable species and 80% of their current chilled and frozen wild range being MSC certified, Lidl is already providing consumers an excellent choice when in store. By choosing products with the MSC logo, Lidl shoppers are helping protect our oceans for future generations.
To meet this goal, Lidl has been working closely with their Irish suppliers, including Bantry-based Keohanes Seafoods. Lidl first began working with the family-owned business in 2012, enabling them to expand and grow their business. Seven years later, the company now has 160 employees across two facilities in Cork City and Bantry. Keohanes Seafoods supplies a range of products to all Lidl stores across Ireland and Northern Ireland. Earlier this year, Keohanes Seafoods signed a contract to supply packaged salmon darnes to 120 Lidl stores in the UK.
Mike Keohane, Managing Director, Keohaness Seafoods said: We have established a long term partnership with Lidl that has enabled us to develop our business and are proud to work closely with Lidl to ensure our seafood products are certified to sustainability programmes. We are also working with Lidl towards sustainable packaging including moving away from unrecyclable black plastic which will be hugely impactful.
Liam Casey, Commercial Director at Lidl Ireland said, Safeguarding fish stocks for the future is an issue we are passionate about at Lidl and we are proud to be leading the way in the Irish retail market with our commitments. Our sustainable fish sourcing policy underlines our commitment to responsible sourcing through our certifications as well as our support for Irish Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) with Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM). We have also joined the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI)*, a global cross-sectoral alliance committed to driving solutions to the problem of lost, abandoned and otherwise discarded fishing gear (also known as ghost gear), which accounts for about 10% of plastic pollution in the sea. We look forward to making further progress with the wider sector in our collective aim to drive transparency and safeguard fish stocks for the future.