SPAR recognises World Oceans Day

08 June 2021

On World Oceans Day, SPAR acknowledges that there is a global concern over the over-exploitation of seafood resources and environmental impacts from fishing and aquaculture activities on marine ecosystems. 

Retailers and wholesalers are major role players in the South African seafood industry and can help drive positive change in fisheries by supporting sustainable seafood choices from responsibly managed sources and creating market-driven incentives. SPAR aims to ensure all its seafood is responsibly procured and supports sustainable fisheries and aquaculture operations. 

WWF SASSI Signatories

SPAR is a co-signatory to industry and government bodies on issues relating to fishery improvements. Our seafood procurement is conducted within the parameters of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) guidelines on how seafood should be caught and sold.

SPAR joined the WWF-SASSI retailer/supplier participation scheme in December 2010. Since then, we completed an assessment of the SPAR house brand seafood range demonstrating that SPAR house brand seafood procurement occurs according to our formal sustainable sourcing policy.

Full Traceability

Through working closely with suppliers, we established full traceability of SPAR house brand seafood products. This includes random DNA testing on SPAR house brand seafood products to ensure correct identification and labelling.

We took this initiative beyond SPAR house brand products to seafood and fish procured through our distribution centres. We engage with and assess suppliers who deal directly with distribution centres according to standards stated in the SPAR house brand procurement policy. We also focus on training buyers at distribution centres and gather information from seafood suppliers
to assess whether any species were red listed. We also assisted retailers who sourced their own seafood, including the outsourced fresh fish counters in SPAR stores in the Western Cape.

Support for Better Management Practices

SPAR together with other retailers, food wholesalers, fisheries suppliers and government wrote a letter of support to the Namibian government, requesting that better management practices be adopted by the Namibian hake industry. As a result of the letter and pressure from all retailers and suppliers, the Namibian hake industry is currently undergoing an audit by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to ensure good fishing practices have been adopted and fisheries are managed responsibly. This is part of SPAR’s commitment to improve business practices by incorporating sustainability. Once the Namibian hake industry has been MSC certified, SPAR’s house brands will have all its species either listed as green or under improvement, in compliance with WWF-SASSI.

Small Scale Fisher Engagement

SPAR also engages with small-scale fishers in South Africa and provides them with an opportunity to trade independently in SPAR’s stores. SPAR also trained small-scale fishers on sustainable fishing.