State of the Oceans Report and Supermarket Responsibility - Greenpeace targets eight Canadian supermarkets, including Loblaw and Metro

    MONTREAL, June 17 /CNW Telbec/ - In a report published today, Greenpeace
is urging Canadian supermarkets to shoulder their share of the responsibility
for the collapse of fish and seafood stocks by ceasing to sell the most
threatened species.
    Loblaw, Sobey's, Metro, Wal-Mart, Costco, Safeway, Overwaitea, and
Federated Cooperatives are all targeted by Greenpeace in this 56-page report
entitled Out of Stock : Canadian Supermarkets and the Future of Seafood. In
this document, Greenpeace reveals an alarming update on the state of fish and
seafood stocks, reports on Canadian supermarkets, and provides a Redlist
identifying species to avoid selling and buying.

    State of the Oceans

    A growing body of research shows alarming rates of species loss. About
75 per cent of the world's fisheries are either "fully exploited", "over
exploited" or significantly depleted. Large, commercially valuable species are
already 90 per cent gone.
    "Atlantic bluefin tuna, Atlantic cod and other favourite species are most
at risk," said Sarah King, Greenpeace Oceans campaigner. "Supermarkets must
take the pressure off threatened fisheries now by purchasing their seafood
only from sustainably managed fisheries. If they don't, there soon won't be
any fish to sell."
    Oceans are in peril because global fishing operations take 2.5 times more
fish and seafood than is sustainable. On top of that, destructive fishing
practices, such as bottom trawling and dredging, capture about 27 million
tonnes of marine life annually. Most of it is thrown back into the ocean, dead
or dying.

    State of the Supermarkets

    Supermarkets sell 63 per cent of the seafood eaten in Canada, including
many vulnerable species. Canadians have said in a Greenpeace survey that they
would choose sustainable seafood if supermarkets provided them with the
information they need to make better choices.
    "Supermarkets are the key link between suppliers and consumers," said
Sarah King. "Seafood counters give Canadians a false sense of abundance. We
are fishing the oceans out of stock and supermarkets have a responsibility to
stem the flow."
    Unfortunately, the Greenpeace report shows the purchasing practices of
Canada's eight largest supermarket chains are discouraging. None have
sustainable seafood purchasing policies in place. They all sell "Redlist"
fish, with Loblaws (32 per cent market share) and Sobey's (15 per cent market
share) selling all the Redlist species groups. In contrast, many supermarkets
in Europe and the US have policies in place to avoid Redlist species.

    The Greenpeace Redlist

    Greenpeace is calling on supermarkets to remove the "Redlist" species
from their shelves and adopt sustainable seafood procurement policies. "By
doing so, supermarkets can send a message to producers further up the supply
chain", says Sarah King.
    Redlist species at risk of commercial extinction include Atlantic bluefin
tuna, Atlantic halibut, Atlantic cod, sharks, skates, orange roughy and New
Zealand hoki. Tropical shrimp is the most consumed species on the list.
Harvesting and farming tropical shrimp is wreaking havoc on ecosystems and
threatening many coastal communities.
    Greenpeace is also advocating for a global network of marine reserves to
protect marine biodiversity and allow threatened stocks and habitats to
recover. Protecting 40 percent of the ocean in marine reserves and enforcing
sustainable management in the other 60 percent, will help ensure a future for
seafood. Similar reports by Greenpeace are being launched today in the United
States, Spain and by Greenpeace International.

    Notes: Report, redlist, survey, video and images will be available on website.

For further information:

For further information: Jessica Wilson, Public relations, Greenpeace,
(778) 228-5404; Brian Blomme, Public relations, Greenpeace, (416) 930-9055

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