McDonald’s, Tesco, Sainsbury, Marks and Spencer, Asda, Morrisons, Youns Seafood, Birds Eye, Espersen, Karat, and Fiskebat are major players in the cod industry. They are responsible for supplying and purchasing huge volumes of the species, and their business practices have an enormous effect on whether or not the species and its habitats will be protected or over-exploited. Fishing fleets are expanding territories to obtain the most economical catch as possible, putting new areas at risk.
A key area of Arctic waters between Greenland, Russia and Norway is the great benefactor of the agreement which will prevent expansion into the area. These waters have not yet undergone significant fishing and are currently undergoing a research effort to learn how to properly exploit the resources of the waters without causing undue harm to the environment and the cod within its boundaries. It isn’t just cod that is going to benefit from the agreement. Bottom trawlers, used to fish cod, can cause damage to other species, and with the lack of research into the area the true cost of these fishing methods is not fully understood in the region.
While you may not be familiar with all of the signatories, this is good progress for protecting cod populations. Fiskebat, for instance, represents all registered fishing vessels in Norway. Corporate responsibility paired with informed consumption is a powerful force towards exploiting the bounties of the sea responsibly.
How can you do your part? Continue making informed choices. The more that consumers show their preference for certified seafood, the more the market will respond.