Just in time for World Oceans Day, McDonalds announced today that it will be serving sustainable fish at its restaurants in Europe. The fastfood behemoth’s Filet-o-Fish sandwiches will bear the blue eco-label of the Marine Stewardship Council starting in October. McDonalds uses four species of wild fish for the sandwiches: cod, haddock, Alaska pollock and New Zealand hoki and sells 100 million fish-wiches in Europe at year, says the New York Times (you can also check out the ingredients via the McDonalds website).
The Marine Stewardship Council is a London-based nonprofit founded in 1995 by the World Wildlife Fund and Unilever, which was “then a big seafood retailer, to encourage stores, restaurants and consumers to choose fish harvested in responsible ways.” The Council employs third-party companies to “certify that fisheries are managed to safeguard jobs, maintain fish stocks and protect the ocean.” It will receive 0.5 percent of the cost of the 10 million Filet-o-Fish fish fillets it lends its stamp of approval to.
As the New York Times notes, the Council has its critics regarding what it gives the “sustainable” imprimatur to:
Its certification of the New Zealand hoki has in particular been the object of scrutiny, because the fish are caught by trawling the ocean floor, a means of fishing that has been likened to driving a bulldozer across the ocean floor.
What I’m waiting for is for McDonalds to start serving the same sustainable fish here in the US. Joanna Trigg, a McDonald’s spokeswoman in London said “there have been some conversations” about doing so here. The New York Times points out that “Europeans are — at least on the surface — somewhat more sensitive to environmental issues than Americans” — I’m not sure if such a sweeping statement can be vouched for in the space of this blog post. Are we serious about seafood sustainability or not in the US?
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