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Friday, February 12, 2010

Loblaws takes steps toward sustainability of the oceans fish stocks:some scientists disagree with Loblaws

By SeafoodSource staff
2/4/2010 2:21:19 PM - "Loblaw Cos. Ltd. is taking steps to meet its goal to source only sustainable seafood sold in its stores by the end of 2013."

"Starting on Thursday at select corporate stores across Canada, fresh seafood counters will display empty trays where “at risk” fish were once displayed. The goal is to create a visual message to help educate consumers about sustainable seafood choices. The trays will be filled when a viable sustainable replacement can be supplied."
“As Canada’s largest buyer and seller of seafood, Loblaw has taken a hard look at the challenges facing the world’s oceans and what it means to us,” said Paul Uys, VP of Loblaw’s Fresh Foods. “We believe it’s critical that Canadians understand this important issue, and the changes at our fresh seafood counters are among the first steps we have taken to educate customers as to why Loblaw is committed to sourcing all seafood sold in our stores from sustainable sources.”
"Loblaw is working with partners including World Wildlife Fund-Canada and the Marine Stewardship Council, in addition to marine scientists, and conservation and fisheries to meet its commitment.
Loblaw made the announcement in May 2009 to source all seafood sold in its retail locations from sustainable sources. The goal is driven by its corporate social responsibility pillar, source with integrity."

Congratulations to the management of Loblaws for taking this major step in policy! Educating the population  about the fact that the resources of the sea are limited and finite can only help species of life found in the waterways of this world, which face extinction, due to overconsumption and overfishing. Sadly, already this decision by Loblaws, which could have been the beginning of a industry-wide consciousness  regarding this issue, has already been none other than scientists! Go figure! What I am talking about is this reaction to Loblaws decision:

"Loblaws seafood ban could disrupt shark research

Grocery store chain to stop selling shark, skate, orange roughy and sea bass

Loblaws' decision to stop selling some seafood in the interest of conservation could disrupt research into porbeagle sharks off Nova Scotia that relies on a managed fishery, a shark scientist says.
The grocery store chain, which owns the Atlantic Superstore, announced last week it will no longer sell skate, orange roughy, sea bass and shark — four types of fish it deemed unsustainable.
Steve Campana, a shark researcher at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, said the company might have good intentions to promote sustainable fisheries, but its ban could interfere with research that helps protect shark populations.
Scientists rely on fishermen with specialized gear, such as those in Sambro, near Halifax, for a lot of their research, Campana said. They work together to capture sharks and tag them, so that the sharks can be tracked by satellite.
Any trend toward restricting markets for the sharks could disrupt the well-managed fishery and the scientific work that makes that fishery possible, he said.
"I can understand the concern of the company for sharks in other parts of the world because many of those shark populations are in danger. Luckily, in Canadian waters, [the Department of Fisheries and Oceans] has taken a very strict line to allow a sustainable fishery on the sharks," Campana told CBC News.
The fishing quota for porbeagle shark is "very tiny," and the population is recovering as a result, he added.
Thanks to their co-operation with fishermen scientists now know that once the sharks leave Canadian waters, they go to the Sargasso Sea, near the Bermuda Triangle, to have their young, said Campana.
"Without knowing where they had given birth, we were concerned that we might inadvertently wipe out their spawning potential or perhaps, more dangerously, have an international fishery catch them," he said.
Though most of the shark meat caught off Canada's East Coast is sold in Europe, Campana worries that Loblaws' decision to ban certain seafood could prompt markets around the world to follow suit.

These scientists seem to have the best interests of  sharks in mind, (or do they? Are they simply trying to preserve their jobs as shark and fish researchers? (can you blame them?)  however they seem to forget certain facts concerning the World's oceans.

"At the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development, 190 countries endorsed a commitment to achieve, by 2010, a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national levels." (source:

According to the document: :

"Current rates of species extinction are at least three orders of magnitude above average, so-called background rates in the fossil record, and are set to increase (see: Pimm, S. L., Russell, G. J., Gittleman, J. L. & Brooks, T. M. 1995 The future of biodiversity. Science 209, 347–350.)

Around one-fifth of all extant species of mammals,birds, amphibians, conifers and cycads (the only
groups whose conservation status has been comprehensively assessed) are at appreciable risk of global
extinction within the next hundred years (see: Baillie, J. E. M., Hilton-Taylor, C. & Stuart, S. N. 2004

IUCN Red List of threatened species. A global species assessment. Gland: IUCN.). Other measures of the rate of loss of wild nature (such as population decline or habitat loss) far exceed that for species extinction. More than half of all natural habitat on agriculturally useable land has already been cleared for cropland or permanent pasture, and much of the rest has been altered by temporary grazing!!

At sea, three-quarters of harvested fish populations monitored by the FAO are already overexploited, or will become so without stringent management intervention (see: FAO 2000 The state of the world fisheries and aquaculture 2000.Rome: Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United
Nations.). Specific losses are often even more severe: Caribbean turtle numbers have declined by over 99.9% since the arrival of Columbus (See: Jackson, J. B. C. 1997 Reefs since Columbus. Coral Reefs
16, S23–S32.), Australian dugong populations and Chesapeake Bay oyster harvests by over 98% in the past century (see: Jackson, J. B. C. 2001 What was natural in the coastal oceans? Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 98, 5411–5418.Jackson, J. B. C. et al. 2001 Historical overfishing and the recent collapse of coastal ecosystems. Science 293, 629–638.), , and shark numbers in the northwest Atlantic by over 75% in the last 15 years alone (see: Baum, J. K., Myers, R. A., Kehler, D. G., Worm, B., Harley,

S. J. & Doherty, P. A. 2003 Collapse and conservation of shark populations in the Northwest Atlantic. Science 299, 389–392.)

So here is what we have, is a contraidiction in science if ever there was one!!! On the one hand we have some scientists suggesting that Loblaws steps would hurt scientific research, on the other hand, other scientists indicate very strongly that fish are being severely overexploited by the human species! Which message is more important to the survival of the oceans sea life? It is kind of obvious  to me,that the ideas, opinions, and statements of those scientists who are warning us about the possible dangers of species extinction have to be listened to before we listen to the other group of scientists.

If anything, let us hope that the decision of Loblaws to act in a more responsible fashion towards the sustainment of fish species in the waterways of the planet, catches on, and that many more companies which
can influence the populations of wildlife species, also chose to act more responsibly in their behavior.Of course the most important thing that Loblaws is doing and has to be commended for, is developing consumer awareness of  the dangers  of overconsumption and  over-fishing/over-hunting, of species of life humans have come to rely upon as a main source of food.

For their decision to engage in new corporate behavior, which will hopefully benefit another species of life on our planet, I award Loblaws the following gold medal, for finishing first in corporate behavior olympics! Lets see if other corporations will follow suit and want to share this gold medal!

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.