Pick n Pay and WWF

Pick n Pay commits to transforming its seafood operations

Pick n Pay has been recognised by the World Wildlife Fund-South Africa (WWF0SA) for its commitment to transforming its entire fresh, frozen and canned seafood operations by the end of 2015 in a bid to address concerns about the exploitation of global seafood resources.

Dr Morné du Plessis, WWF South Africa’s Chief Executive Officer, and Bronwen Rohland, Director of Marketing and Sustainability at Pick n Pay.

Speaking at the launch of the Fisheries, Facts and Trends South Africa report earlier in November, Bronwen Rohland, director of Marketing and Sustainability Pick n Pay said: “As a company we realise that our commitment to the communities in which we operate can be instrumental in shifting the mind-set of well-meaning consumers. An important part of Pick n Pay’s ethos revolves around sustainability and this is one of the reasons why we became the first South African retailer to sign a partnership agreement with the WWF Sustainable Fisheries Programme in support of the programme.

“As one of the country’s largest retailers, we cannot ignore the fact that seafood is inextricably linked to food security and that it provides the primary source of income for some 2.6 billion people globally. We see our role as a retailer and significant player in the seafood industry as driving positive change in the fishing industry by supporting and promoting sustainable seafood choices from legal and responsibly managed sources,” said Rohland.

The three-year partnership agreement entered into with the WWF Sustainable Fisheries programme in an effort to support the organisation’s Sustainable Fisheries Programme is worth R6.1 million.

“This money is being used to restore over-exploited fish stocks to sustainably managed levels, whilst maintaining or improving the state of other stocks. Through the application of a so-called Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management, the impact of destructive fishing practices will be reduced to acceptable levels. This means the state of all marine organisms and interconnected processes are considered when fishing decisions are being made,” said Rohland.

This investment has, and is being, utilised to train and educate those involved in the seafood industry in sustainable practices, and to support programmes that educate the public on the need to conserve seafood and maintain it as a sustainable food source.

Over and above the financial investment in the programme Pick n Pay continues to work towards the following goals set to be reached by 2015 that all seafood sold will be:

  • Certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) for wild-caught products;
  • Certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) for farmed products, or equivalent standards;
  • Categorised as “green” in terms of the by World Wild Fund for Nature’s (WWF) Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI). Fish species on SASSI’s “green” list, are considered the most sustainable choices (from the healthiest and most well managed populations. These species can handle current fishing pressure, or are farmed in a manner that does not harm the environment; or
  • From fisheries or farms which are engaged in credible, time-bound improvement projects.

Rohland said that Pick n Pay was the first retailer – in the early 1990s – to highlight the importance of sustainable living. “Since then Pick n Pay has invested a considerable amount of time, energy and money in ensuring that our business moves rapidly to the highest levels of sustainability, incorporating good practice not only into how we operate our business, but also into the product ranges we offer.

“There is no doubt that the world’s oceans are under threat. This was the reason why Pick n Pay committed itself earlier this year to transforming our entire fresh, frozen and canned seafood operations by the end of 2015,” said Rohland.

Rohland paid tribute to the work of WWF-SA saying it was “vital that the message that it is not too late to save the oceans from further damage if consumers act responsibly. The message must go out that we dare not wait until it is too late to protect a valuable resource, the destruction of which will lead to devastation and massive food insecurity if mismanaged”.

“Pick n Pay congratulates the WWF-SA on this initiative and the commitment to spreading the word that we have to act together to promote sustainable and responsible custodianship of our natural resources in order to protect the environment and ensure that the ocean is not further degraded. We encourage our customers to join us in supporting initiatives such as the Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) and to choose fish species off their ‘green list’ which are considered the most sustainable choices,” said Rohland.