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Tesco joins new initiative to help protect whales and dolphins

Haul of sea bass on French pair trawlers, Le Baron and Magellan, fishing in the English channel. Greenpeace is currently in the English channel protesting against pelagic pair trawling due to the high numbers of dolphin deaths associated with it.

Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer has joined WDC, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in our joint initiative to ensure supermarkets and food brands only sell fish and shellfish that comes from those sources that use best practices in protecting vulnerable marine wildlife.

As part of this work with Tesco, an audit of their seafood suppliers was carried out to assess the risk posed to whales and dolphins, sharks rays, seabirds, and other marine mammals and sea turtles from capture in commercial fisheries - an issue that is commonly referred to as ‘bycatch.’

Bycatch (incidental capture in nets) is the biggest direct killer of dolphins around the globe and a huge issue in UK waters, yet many consumers are unaware of the problem.

The audit identified some high potential bycatch risks in Tesco’s source fisheries, including:

  • Alaskan salmon set/drift gillnet fisheries pose a significant risk to seabirds.
  • Argentine shrimp and Indonesian prawn fisheries pose a significant risk to sea turtles.
  • Icelandic cod gillnet fisheries pose a significant risk to seabirds and marine mammals.
  • Canadian lobster pot and trap fisheries pose a risk to marine mammals.

Anna Turrell, head of environment at Tesco, said, ‘reducing fisheries bycatch is a vital element of our ‘seascape’ or ecosystem-based approach to promote healthy fish stocks and mitigate the impacts of fishing on the wider marine environment. This report is an important step on that journey, and we’re already working with our suppliers to take action on the issues raised, including implementing 100 percent observer coverage on vessels in our supply chain.’

Donate today to help prevent more deaths in nets. 

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