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WWF-South Africa has welcomed an announcement made by I&J, stating it is committed to transforming its seafood operations to meet strict sustainability standards by the end of 2015.
I&J, a leading South African fishing company, has demonstrated its commitment to the environment by signing a participation agreement with the WWF-SA Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (WWF-SASSI). This further enhances I&J’s long history of responsible fishing where it has provided clear leadership through, amongst others, its commitment to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), its active role in the Responsible Fisheries Alliance (RFA) and its continued support of the responsible fisheries training programme.
This agreement represents a formal commitment to sustainable seafood by I&J, which will work with WWF-SASSI towards the goal of ensuring that, by December 2015, the fishing company will only sell seafood products that are:
- Certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) for wild capture species (the world’s leading eco-label for wild caught seafood) or;
- Certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) for species originating from aquaculture operations (the newly launched eco-label for responsible aquaculture production) or;
- Green-listed by WWF-SASSI; or
- The subject of a time-bound fishery improvement project or bycatch management plan as approved by WWF-SA.
“These sustainability goals are a clear statement of intent by I&J to drive positive change by formalising the company’s commitment to sustainable fishing practices and meeting hard and fast targets,“ says Ronald Fasol, Chief Executive Officer of I&J, who, together with WWF-SA CEO Dr Morné du Plessis, signed the agreement.
Du Plessis says, “This is a leading and positive step in achieving sustainability in the seafood industry. WWF believes that corporate engagement is key to transforming markets and for adopting and promoting sector-wide shifts to sustainable development and corporate best practice.The transformational nature of this partnership is highlighted by the commitments to sustainable seafood that I&J has made. We congratulate I&J for leading the way in setting these tangible conservation goals for the fishing sector.”
I&J is a major stakeholder in the South African fishing industry. The company is the largest right-holder in the commercially important hake fisheries and trades in both whole fish and value added seafood products. “I&J has an important contribution to make towards the sustainable management of fisheries, not only in South Africa, but in every country where we do business,” says Fasol. While the WWF-SASSI agreement confirms I&J’s commitment to sustainable fishing and the trade in sustainable seafood products, the company also has an internal policy on sustainable seafood that guides its staff in the procurement and sale of seafood products. The I&J Sustainable Seafood Policy was developed in consultation with WWF-SASSI and is available for scrutiny at www.ij.co.za. It sets out clear guidelines with respect to product quality, safety, traceability, labelling and the education and training of I&J staff.
The WWF-SASSI Participation Scheme is an initiative that engages key role players in the seafood supply chain with the aim of transforming the landscape of the seafood industry in South Africa. The Scheme has been running since 2008 and currently engages with a number of South African retailers and suppliers.