Responsible Sourcing from Sea to Shelf
Iceland’s Fish and Seafood Responsible Sourcing Policy
At Iceland we believe that we have a responsibility to preserve the planet for future generations. There is no better example of this than our sourcing policy for Iceland own brand fish and seafood. The oceans are one of our most precious resources and we have a duty to protect them. We understand that our customers look to us to deliver products that do not harm the environment and we encourage responsible fishing practices to ensure the future supply of plentiful fish stocks. We take this custodianship very seriously and insist on adherence to rigorous standards from sea or farm to shelf.
Iceland has developed five guiding principles that will ensure that all of Iceland own brand fish and seafood is 100% responsibly sourced. Our product specifications will be developed to ensure compatibility with these principles:
- Traceability – We require suppliers to have traceability of all of our fish and seafood to a specific vessel, so that we can document the method of capture and ocean or area of capture. We then make this information available to you, our customers.
- Transparency – We want you to be able to make choices about the food you buy based on accurate and understandable information. All of Iceland own brand primary fish is labelled with the official name at the point we sell it (called its commercial designation), scientific name, relevant detailed geographical area and category of fish production method.
- Risk assessing our supply chain – We monitor our supply chain in great detail. If we think there are areas of potential weakness, then our Fish Technologist requires the supplier of that product to answer a series of detailed questions, so that we can satisfy ourselves that it is caught or farmed in a responsible way.
- Responsible sourcing decisions – Our buying team is continually reviewing our products to ensure that the supplier has an individual action plan and an improvement plan in place, if needed. This means we know the steps that they are taking to deal with the risk factors.
- Doing the right thing – If we feel there are any areas that still pose potential risks then our Fish Technologist carefully monitors the situation, engages with that supplier regularly and requests updated plans if required.
 When we say “fish”, it has a broad definition covering fish, crustaceans and molluscs whether, breaded, battered or plain
 Primary fish is defined as products that have not been processed other than filleting and being cut into portion sizes
Working with stakeholders
The wide-ranging natural habitats seen in our seas and oceans are diverse and complex. To understand them, and thus to care for them, requires in-depth understanding and expertise. We seek to work with many experts and use their knowledge to improve our fish sourcing policy. For example, we have become a member of the Sustainable Seafood Coalition working in a partnership that is “united in a vision for sustainable seafood”.
Sea-caught fish and seafood
Suppliers of Iceland own brand fish and seafood are encouraged to use practices that minimise discards and that avoid capture of immature or undersized fish. A risk assessment must be undertaken to identify the environmental impact of the fishing, including seabed damage and protected areas.
Species must be managed in accordance with key scientific indicators and we ask all of our suppliers to ensure that practical measures are taken to maintain breeding populations which are capable of sustaining or growing the current fish stocks. We will continue to follow the research produced by fisheries experts very closely.
Tuna is a household staple and is used in many of our fish products. One of the principal concerns regarding tuna fishing is the inadvertent capture of sea mammals and other fish. This has often been linked with practices including the use of fish aggregating devices (FADs). For this reason, all Iceland own brand tuna steaks must be sourced from fisheries employing line and pole or hand line fishing methods and not using FADs.
Farmed fish and seafood
Much of Iceland own brand farmed fish is already certified to an internationally recognised aquaculture standard; and it is a requirement that this must be in place for all supplies by July 2018 at the latest. In particular, we are seeking to meet the standards set by:
• Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) – Best Aquaculture Practice (BAP) minimum 3*
• Global G.A.P
• Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC))
Responsible sourcing is not just about the end products you see on our shelves, it extends much further down the supply chain. Many experts have expressed concerns about certain practices of sourcing fishmeal and fish oil that are used to feed farm-reared species. Iceland policy also highlights best practices, to ensure the feed is from responsible, well managed stocks.
For certain species of fish and seafood, aquaculture offers a more sustainable solution than wild-catch, if done in a way that respects the creatures’ health and wellbeing. In order to guide this, we ask all farms that supply Iceland own brand products to adopt the Farm Animal Welfare Council ‘5 Freedoms’; this is consistent with our animal welfare policy. These freedoms are:
- Freedom from fear and distress
- Freedom from hunger
- Freedom from discomfort
- Freedom from pain, injury and disease
- Freedom to express normal behaviour
Farms that supply Iceland own brand products must have processes in place to improve fish health, disease containment, environmental impact (including water quality, waste reduction and biodiversity), and monitoring; we call this Environmental Management System (EMS). Suppliers must be able to demonstrate that they have undertaken a risk assessment to ensure that the freedoms are maintained and that they have in place surveillance testing programmes so that we can be assured they are compliant.
Prawns. Prawns and shrimp are a tasty feature of many of our popular products. We are conscious that this is an area where, in the past, unsustainable sourcing practices have been exposed. To guard against this, all Iceland own brand farmed prawns are to be sourced from responsibly managed farms that comply with conservation standards and address issues of habitat destruction.