Press Releases 2010

September 23, 2010 - Metro implements its sustainable fisheries policy and stops selling seven threatened fish species

Thursday, September 23, 2010 – Today Metro announced the implementation of its sustainable fisheries policy, under which it will offer consumers fresh and frozen wild and farmed seafood products from sustainable fisheries by June 2011.

Starting today, Metro will temporarily withdraw seven threatened species, including Atlantic cod (West), bluefin tuna, orange roughy, Chilean seabass, New Zealand hoki, skate and shark from its shelves. These species will be substituted with other products and might be reintroduced in the future if scientific reports indicate that their stocks have climbed back up to acceptable levels.

This sustainable fisheries policy will be effective in Metro supermarkets and discount supermarkets across Ontario and Quebec. The changes will occur gradually and be fully implemented by June 2011. All Metro suppliers will sign a code of conduct attesting to their commitment to this new policy and will be favoured should they make tangible progress toward the sustainable management of their activities and encourage recognized standards.

To facilitate the traceability of its seafood products, Metro has developed a new, more transparent labelling system to help consumers make informed choices. In addition to the information normally found, labels will now include the scientific name, the product's origin, the fishing type and the presence of a standard, where applicable. Seafood department employees have received the necessary training, and will be available to answer questions and recommend sustainable substitute products to consumers.

"Metro's sustainable fisheries policy is an important milestone in its history. This initiative is proof that we want to go beyond the simple role of distributor and become a player in sustainable development," declared Robert Sawyer, Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, Metro Inc. "The adoption of a sustainable fisheries policy is consistent with our corporate responsibility approach."

Objective analysis
To ensure its decisions are based on an objective analysis of fished species, Metro's sustainable fisheries policy takes into account not only official scientific opinions, but also the viewpoints of all stakeholders, including governments, NGOs and suppliers. Renowned independent experts, including Jean-Claude Brêthes, professor at the Institut des sciences de la mer of the Université du Québec à Rimouski, were also consulted.

Four core criteria
Metro's sustainable fisheries policy is based on four core criteria:

  1. Procurement will be limited to fishing areas and species whose renewal is ensured given their individual stocks and catch rates.
  2. Fisheries and aquafarms supplying Metro Inc. will have to prove that they use sustainable fishing methods.
  3. The supply chain—from the fishing area to the consumer—must be documented to allow for informative and transparent labelling.
  4. Metro's decisions will take into account local economic issues.

By no longer selling threatened species, Metro hopes to help the recovery of fish stocks and the conservation of ocean diversity. The company will report on its commitment regularly. Metro's sustainable fisheries policy is available at: