Retailers share seafood sustainability concerns

One of the regions biggest grocery stores says retailers must share some of the responsibility when it comes to providing sustainable seafood options to customers.

Sobeys official says retailers must share responsibility for providing sustainable options

One of the region's biggest grocery stores says retailers must share some of the responsibility when it comes to providing sustainable seafood options to customers.

David Smith, the vice-president of sustainability at Sobeys, said while government and the fishing industry tend to shape fisheries policy, consumers and retailers have an important role to play.  

"Increasingly, retailers are being asked to be accountable for what they sell. And so it's a whole new era than it used to be," Smith said, "And we are getting way more visible and aware of where our food comes from than we ever have before."  

Smith is one of the speakers at a symposium held by the Atlantic Lobster Sustainability Foundation that runs through Wednesday in Moncton.  

About 130 lobster industry stakeholders are meeting to discuss ways to improve sustainable practices in Canadian fisheries.  

During his speech, Smith said nothing is truly sustainable when mankind is involved, that the idea is "aspirational."  

"For retailers, a lot of it is about helping to shine a spotlight and helping to apply some influence on key fisheries to help drive some improvements, wherever they may be."

He said consumers need to be able to see evidence of responsibility.

"We saw what happened on Wall Street when people said, 'Just trust us. Everything's fine.' So it's not that there's a lack of trust, but you need to verify performance in today's world," he said, "It's not about 'trust me'; it's about 'show me.'"  

Smith said Sobeys aims to have all of its seafood responsibly sourced by the end of 2013.