Greenpeace Canada exposed the country's largest grocery store chain's claims to be a 'green' grocer as false this week, after an investigation into how they source their seafood. Loblaws, whose stores account for nearly a third of all groceries sold in Canada, were found to be selling 14 of the 15 species on Greenpeace's 'Redlist' - made up of those species that are most destructively fished or farmed.
To get 'redlisted' a species must be in serious trouble, usually defined as facing a 90% reduction in numbers. Currently top of the Canadian list are Atlantic bluefin tuna, Atlantic cod, sharks, skate, shrimp and orange roughy - all of which are sold by Loblaws.
Activists lauched a national campaign against the company by by hanging a giant fishing net from a Loblaws store in Toronto. They also postered store windows with the message "Caught red-handed with Redlist fish" and put up crime-scene tape at a dozen other Loblaw locations around Toronto, where the company is based.
As the link between the consumer and the producer, supermarkets have a unique role to play in ensuring fish for the future. Greenpeace is asking Loblaw and other retailers to take the pressure off threatened fisheries now by purchasing their seafood only from sustainably managed fisheries. If they don’t, there soon won’t be any fish left to sell.