Anova Seafood: Sustainability, responsibility and success
Anova Seafood is a leading retail and foodservice seafood supplier. Based in the Netherlands the company also has offices in Indonesia and Vietnam. Each year, Anova sells 30,000 tonnes of seafood products, 70 percent of which goes to supermarket chains troughout Europe. They believe their efforts towards corporate responsibility and sustainability are key to their success. We spoke to Anova’s Meike Cremers…
What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability is at the core Anova Seafood. Together with our partners we are initiating and working with fishery improvement projects, which help fisheries towards certification by, among others, the MSC. We want to see fish consumption increase and believe offering simply tasty high quality sustainable seafood will bring this about. We achieve this by choosing the best partners and by bringing the fish to the consumer by the shortest and purest route possible.
Tell us about Fijian tuna
For many years the industry asked for sustainable tuna and we were the first to bring MSC certified tuna from Fiji to Europe. This tuna is caught in the South Pacific Ocean near the Fiji Islands. The 330 islands have a long history of fishing. For three years, members of the Fiji Tuna Boat Owners Association (FTBOA) worked, in cooperation with Europe, on MSC certification. These joint efforts led to it being certified as sustainable in December 2012. The fisherman use circle hooks on their long-lines to reduce bycatch. Above that, the impact on the ecosystems is minimised. Also, the tuna fishery stimulates the employment, economy and prosperity of the local community of Fiji.
What other species are important to you?
We also offer sustainable Chum and Pink salmon from the Pacific Ocean around Alaska and Russia. Local biologists and experts closely monitor the fish stocks. They make sure that enough salmon is maintained so that they can breed. Experts keep a sharp eye on the quotas and close the catch season when quotas are reached. Anova’s salmon is single frozen. This technique has a significant positive effect on the quality of the fish, making it an excellent alternative to farmed salmon.
So, success is a mixture of sustainability and market innovation?
Yes, take cod for example: for a long time chefs and fish lovers could only rely on fresh products for premium quality cod. Thanks to the frozen-at-sea process, we can now offer frozen cod that is a worthy supplement for fresh. The frozen cod we sell is caught in the North Atlantic Ocean, primarily in the Barents Sea. The fish is frozen and filleted on board within six hours of being caught, so the quality and flavour is maintained.
We do also have fresh cod from Norway, which is caught and distributed through Europe on a daily basis. Both our fresh and frozen cod are MSC certified.
What does corporate responsibility mean to you?
We started our sustainability mission in 2003 and now all our seafood products are available in a responsible variant, and the volume of sustainable products keeps increasing. We see ourselves moving more and more towards a central place in the (supply) chain. From there we can initiate and stimulate more responsible choices and projects. It is becoming increasingly clear that no individual sector, whether government, non-governmental organisation (NGO) or business can make sustainable differences alone so we need to work collectively. That is why we want to keep working with the MSC, now and in the future, to increase the amount of sustainable seafood sources and to actively raise awareness for responsible fish consumption.
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