Friday is the day that Dutch people traditionally eat fish. When you’re heading to the supermarket in the Netherlands today to get the shrimps for your summer salad, or the salmon for your barbeque, you can now expect to find a sustainable option there.
Albert Heijn, an IDH partner and one of the major Dutch retailers, has been selling ASC Tilapia and Pangasius since 2013. Since last month, it is also offering ASC certified shrimp and Salmon. This is the outcome of collaboration with WWF and IDH. A big deal, as salmon accounts for 45 percent of Albert Heijn’s fresh fish sales, according to the super market chain.
As the world’s population continues to rise and with it the demand for fish, overfishing will continue to pose a problem, unless something is done about it. WWF’s Senior Advisor for Markets Elies Arps, told ASC: “Fish farming is a solid alternative and, when done responsibly, puts a relatively low burden on nature and the environment. Salmon farming is the fastest-growing food production sector in the world and it’s important to ensure standards through certification to combat the adverse effects on people and nature”.
Not all supermarket chains in Europe are quite as far yet as Albert Heijn. “They are really a frontrunner in the Netherlands when it comes to offering sustainable fish”, Roy van Daatselaar, Program Officer for the IDH Sustainable Aquaculture program says. According to van Daatselaar, this is because IDH convened all Dutch retail, spearheaded by Albert Heijn and under the umbrella of the national trade organization for supermarkets in the Netherlands (Centraal bureau levensmiddelenhandel, or CBL) around a covenant, decided to make sustainability a priority. Dutch retail aims to have all wild caught fish MSC certified and all farmed fish ASC certified or equivalent, before the end of this year.
We hope that this Albert Heijn initiative will be a success and will get adopted by other retailers across the Globe. And for now… enjoy your sustainable barbeque!