Enjoying fish in an entirely sustainable way
It is for good reason that an increasing amount of fish and seafood is finding its way onto our plates. These foods are generally low in fat and consequently higher in protein and important vitamins and minerals.
However, 90 percent of the world's stocks are currently overfished or under threat. It is also worth noting that lots of marine life ends up as discarded bycatch and is often thrown back into the sea. Coop is committed to preserving fish stocks and biodiversity of our oceans. As such, since 2016, 100% of the fish and seafood available at our fish counter comes from sustainable sources.
Our fish and seafood are only deemed sustainable once the WWF has rated the respective fisheries and farms as recommended or acceptable. For this reason, we have our range audited by the WWF on an annual basis. If necessary, we adapt our assortment.
Enjoyment with a clear conscience
The consumption of fish and seafood is increasing worldwide. As a low-fat protein source this treasures from the sea aren't this popular for no reason, fish and seafood are very healthy and are known as true delicacies in many countries. However, there is also a downside to this development. The growth in global demand is resulting in overfishing and is endangering natural fish stocks. Even conventionally managed fisheries often aren't a sustainable alternative. In order for the animals to remain healthy, particularly in high stocking densities, vast amounts of nutrients and preventive medicines are added. This doesn't only compromise the welfare of the animals but also puts a significant strain on the environment.
There is no room for compromise when it comes to preserving stocks and biodiversity in our seas. This is why the entire fish and seafood assortment at Coop – and therefore also at our fish counter – comes to 100% from sustainable sources. Therefore rigorous checks are essential. As a founding member of the WWF Seafood Group, Coop has its entire range of fish and seafood audited each year by the WWF and, if necessary, adapts its assortment accordingly. None of the fish or seafood we offer is in danger of extinction. All the fisheries and farms from which we receive our fish and seafood are classified as recommended or acceptable by the WWF.
Fish from our own Swiss watercourses are particularly sustainable. There are over 50 different species of fish living in Switzerland. Among the most popular food fish in Switzerland are perch, char, whitefish, pike and three types of trout – brown, rainbow and lake trout. We work closely with Swiss fishermen which allows us to keep transport routes short. Wild-caught fish from Switzerland is rated by the WWF as recommended or acceptable. The fishermen contribute an important part to biodiversity in Swiss watercourses and our collaboration with inland fisheries allows us to support a local profession.
Labels – for the future of our fish and oceans
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an international, non-profit organization, which has been committed to responsible fishing in our seas and oceans since it was founded in 1997. MSC has set its goal to counter the global problem of overfishing. The MSC label is awarded only to fisheries that have been certified with the MSC environmental standard for sustainable fishing. Which means they are committed to the following rules:
- Fishing is only permitted to the extent that fish stocks remain at a constantly high level in the long term.
- Fishing gear must be used in such a way that the habitat of the fish and other marine life is preserved.
- The management of the fishery must be sustainably effective. For example, if the fish stocks look likely to decrease, the catch quota must be correspondingly reduced so the stocks can recover.
By choosing fish with an MSC label, you will reward responsible fisheries and help to preserve fish stocks for current and future generations. Fishery assessments are attended by representatives from the scientific community, environmental organizations and the authorities. MSC-certified fisheries must demonstrate each year that they continue to meet the MSC standard and have made any necessary improvements. Producers, suppliers and fresh fish counters must also be certified and are therefore regularly reviewed. This assures consumers that all fish or seafood products bearing the MSC label does actually come from a sustainable fishery.
Aquacultures can help to counter the threat of overfishing in the world's seas. However, these animals must also be farmed humanely. The ASC label identifies fish and seafood from sustainable farming. In addition to environmental standards relating to areas such as fish food, responsible use of medicines and resource consumption, the label also stipulates minimum social standards for employees. These include payment of the minimum wage and a health insurance guarantee.
Our organic fish and organic prawns come from controlled organic farming in aquacultures. Only foods from operations that undergo regular, independent audits and satisfy the following requirements may be sold under the Bio Suisse quality seal:
- humane husbandry
- monitored feed that is free from added hormones and growth promoters
- no use of preventive medicines
- if possible, the fish must be of Swiss origin and/or be processed in Switzerland
In 2014 Coop was the first retailer in Switzerland to declare fishing methods on the packaging of its fresh wild-caught fish. For each individual product available at our fish counter you will find this information within the detail text on the product page. This high form of transparency exceeds Swiss and EU requirements.
There are huge differences between the various fishing methods. WWF expert Mariann Breu cited hand line fishing as one of the most considerate fishing methods. Handline fishing keeps bycatch to a minimum as the lines are hauled in separately and unintentionally caught species are released back into the water. Furthermore, hand lines do not damage the seabed. Trawling, on the other hand, is deemed problematic if carried out without protective measures. Trawl nets are used in open water (pelagic trawl nets) or dragged along the seabed (bottom trawl nets). In the absence of specific countermeasures, bottom trawl nets can result in large amounts of bycatch. Using bottom trawl nets in sensitive areas such as coral reefs or seagrass beds may cause significant damage to the seabed. At least in this respect, pelagic trawl nets are less problematic.
The fishing methods say a lot about how environmentally friendly a fishery really is – like whether the seabed is preserved and bycatch is avoided. Each product at the fish counter therefore comes with a declaration stating whether the fish was caught by a hand line, long line, gillnet or trawl net.