Eroski decides to align its tuna procurement policy with sustainability

Date: April 16, 2017

Source & Author: OPAGAC

Speaking through the Organisation of Associated Producers of Large Tuna Freezers (OPAGAC), the Spanish tuna fleet has applauded the announcement that Eroski is committed to seeing that all tinned tuna sold at Eroski stores under any label must come from sustainable fleets, an announcement made under Eroski’s Sustainable Fishing Policy.

For OPAGAC this decision is a big move on the part of the Spanish distribution industry, because it means ensuring sustainability throughout the entire value chain, from source to end consumer.

According to Julio Morón, managing director of OPAGAC, “Eroski’s announcement means the good practices of the Spanish tuna fleet are making their way all the way to store shelves. The Spanish fleet is acknowledged by forums the world over for its objective of establishing a kind of tuna fishing that is biologically sustainable, socioeconomically sustainable for the coastal countries where the fleet operates, and sustainable with respect to crews’ working conditions. The Spanish tuna fleet’s strong support of AENOR’s Responsibly Fished Tuna standard has made the fleet a responsibility pacesetter.”

OPAGAC believes Eroski’s decision should change the game for other major Spanish food distributors so that they, like the Basque cooperative, will take measures aimed at assuring their customers the tinned tuna they eat is a sustainable food backed by international standards and certified guarantees, as opposed to the product of pirate fishing.

OPAGAC also trusts that initiatives of this type will “dignify this product,” as Morón puts it. “Tinned tuna is often used as a weapon in price wars. It’s priced anywhere between 30 and 40 percent below its production cost to entice buyers into stores. Things like that,” Morón regretfully says, “certainly encourage the introduction of illegally fished product.”

Eroski’s announcement states that the chain will agree to sell only tuna from countries and ships flying the flags of member countries of regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs) and will not accept tuna processed, prepared or caught with ships whose countries hold a yellow card on the European Union’s list due to repeated failure to comply with RFMO-approved measures and failure to establish controls against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Eroski made this assertion during a meeting with the Spanish tuna fleet (represented by OPAGAC and ANABAC), the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) and AZTI, a technological centre specialising in marine and food research. The meeting was also attended by the tuna companies Albacora, Garavilla, Calvo, Pevasa, Echebastar and Nicra7.

In 2010 Eroski was the first Spanish distributor to join the WWF’s Sustainable Seafood Initiative, and in 2016 it became the first to pass the Marine Stewardship Council’s audit certifying that Eroski’s fresh fish comes from sustainable fisheries.

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