UK’s largest seafood processor, Young's steps forward to highlight consequences of Northeast Atlantic pelagics mismanagement

UK’s largest seafood processor, Young’s steps forward to highlight consequences of Northeast Atlantic pelagics mismanagement

Seafood processor Young’s has added its voice to the chorus of supply chain businesses and retailers calling for collaborative, sustainable management of mackerel, herring and blue whiting in the Northeast Atlantic. Issuing a ‘sourcing statement’ via the North Atlantic Pelagic Advocacy Group (NAPA), Young’s has underscored that ongoing disputes over the species mean that their business would ultimately cease to purchase from the fisheries.

Part of the NAPA coalition, Young’s has issued the following statement on sourcing from the Northeast Atlantic pelagic fisheries complex. Long-thought of as one of the most sustainable fishing areas in the world, ongoing disputes between Coastal States in the region are risking the health of valuable pelagic stocks – and driving business to speak-up on the consequences:

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“Young’s is the UKs largest seafood processor, with a global supply chain, encompassing over 40 wild capture and aquaculture species. In light of this, we recognise the diverse interests of all stakeholders in the fishing and aquaculture industries. We engage openly in dialogue with all parties, including fishermen, fish farmers, governments, trade associations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and food retailers. We will strive to ensure that our policies, values and behaviour regarding responsible fish procurement are leading and shaping opinion – and to pursue a vigorous and positive agenda for change rather than being merely passive or responsive to criticism or challenge.

As a business that has both direct and indirect involvement in North East Atlantic pelagic species through Young’s Brand and private own-label retailer products, we see the North Atlantic Pelagic Advocacy (NAPA) Group as a fundamental tool in driving change in these fisheries. Young’s considers that the unilateral setting of quotas is an unacceptable threat to shared-stock fisheries and that the Coastal states involved in these fisheries should support securing an agreement on total allowable catches in line with ICES advice and strive for a long-term science-based management agreement. We aim to support this process by working pre-competitively with NAPA members to add our voice to public advocacy as well as directly writing to Coastal state delegations and emphasising our position.

Should the NAPA process result in a failure to reach the agreed FIP action plan aims, we will review our sourcing decision and take actions that we deem to be appropriate at the time – the decisions that we make will be further guided by the Sustainable Seafood Coalition Codes of Conduct on Environmentally Responsible Fish and Seafood Sourcing and Environmental Claims. Whilst we are fully committed to playing a role in finding a solution to the management challenges of NE Atlantic pelagic fisheries, the unfortunate consequence of this situation remaining unresolved and total catches continuing to be in excess of the ICES advice, is that Young’s would cease sourcing from these fisheries.”

This October, Coastal States in the Northeast Atlantic will meet to negotiate shared-stock management agreements for mackerel, Atlanto-Scandian herring, and blue whiting. NAPA is using its global influence and EUR 244 billion in pelagics purchasing power to call on Coastal States to put aside their national interests and commit to sustainable management measures, such as following scientific advice, adopting long-term management plans, and employing dispute resolution mechanisms. If Coastal States are unable to agree management agreements for these stocks, NAPA members emphasise that they could be forced to re-evaluate their individual purchasing decisions.

Find out more about NAPA:

Find out more about the policy FIP for NEA mackerel and Atlanto-Scandian herring on here:

Source: Press Release

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