Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Sustainability of Wanis Mackerel in Tomato Sauce

BFTF thinks fish is a delish dish - but wants to buy it without causing unsustainable depletion of the worlds fish stocks.

The blog has some "form" on this issue, with previous posts (here, here, here, here, here and here) that have looked at a number of aspects of fish stocks, fish products and fish eating.

Whilst BFTF tries to buy fish that is MSC certified, or that has been farmed in a sustainable way, this doesn't always happen.

For example, BFTF recently bought a perfectly delicious can of Wanis Mackerel in Tomato Sauce, partly because it was being sold by a local independent shop who BFTF wanted to support, and partly because it was about half the price per kg of the MSC certified mackerel at ASDA (admittedly, the ASDA mackerel was in smaller cans)

But afterwards, BFTF felt a little guilty, so send the following to the supplier. . .

"I bought a can of your Mackerel in Tomato Sauce recently. It tasted just fine, so no problems there ! But I am a little concerned that the fish it contained were not caught in a sustainably way (I would usually buy MSC certified mackerel). Is there any information you can give me regarding the sustainability of the fishing practices used to catch the mackerel in this product?"

UPDATE : 18th March
Having had no response, chased up Wanis with another email

UPDATE : 03rd April
Having had no response, chased up Wanis with another email

UPDATE : 24rd April
Having had no response, chased up Wanis with another email

UPDATE : 25rd June
Having had no response, chased up Wanis with another email

UPDATE : 25th Nov 2012
Recently, BFTF noticed that ASDA were selling mackerel by "Tropical Sun Foods", which appears to be the same company, so BFTF asked ASDA why the Wanis/Tropical Sun Foods weren't responding to emails...

"I've bought a tin of Tropcial Sun Foods Mackerel in Tomato Sauce and would like to know what efforts the company have made to ensure that the fish has been sustainable caught. I have emailed them about this 5 times this year, without any response. This suggests to me that ASDA is dealing with a company that does not take sustainability seriously."

Tropical Sun Foods

UPDATE : 29th Nov 2012
Received a response from ASDA saying that they would contact their buying team to ask whether the Wanis / Tropical SunFoods mackerel was sustainably caught.

UPDATE : 05th Dec 2012
Received a response from ASDA saying that:
"I am really sorry, I am unable to provide you with the information you need, as it is a branded item. You will need to speak with their supplier and they will be able to help you."
To which BFTF responded that the supplier did not respond to emails, adding that
"I am somewhat disturbed that ASDA has not asked them for their policies on sustainability as part of the process of stocking their product. Do you not care at all what practices they are using to catch their fish? "

UPDATE : 10th Dec 2012
Received a final response from ASDA which included the following:
"we are unable to comment on how the fish is caught as it is a branded line. We have no control over any part of this product, including where they catch it. We can only exert control over products which carry our own label. You will need to keep trying with the suppliers contact details. "

UPDATE : 9th Dec 2013
BFTF is only human, and essentially gave up on Tropical Sun Foods following the lack of response described above... until just yesterday when decided to give to challenge them (via the magic that is Twitter). Tropical Sun Foods now responded within hours, as shown below:
Tropical Foods appear to be on the case....

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