Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer, has joined Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in their joint initiative to tackle bycatching.
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.
Carbon is sequestered in marine life. Protecting ocean populations is therefore not only important for the biodiversity of our ocean ecosystems. It also provides a nature-based solution to the Climate Crisis.
WDC’s new joint initiative ensures 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 ‘bycatching’ risk posed to whales and dolphins, sharks rays, seabirds, and other marine mammals and sea turtles from capture in commercial fisheries. The audit identified some high potential bycatch risks in Tesco’s source fisheries.
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. We’re already working with our suppliers to take action on the issues raised [in this report], including implementing 100 percent observer coverage on vessels in our supply chain.’