Costco Changes Salmon Source in Response to Environmentally Damaging Practices

A marine wildlife conservation organization has called for a boycott of fish coming from the Faroe Islands
salmon

Flickr / Juan-Calderon / CC BY-ND 2.0

Environmentally conscious consumers might want to check where their salmon comes from.

Marine wildlife conservation Sea Shepherd Global and environmental media site Planet Experts have uncovered a disturbing truth about where some of our seafood comes from. They have called for a general boycott of seafood originating from the Faroe Islands, a tiny Arctic nation located between Iceland and Norway.

The small island nation has an ancient tradition called grindadráp — or grind — in which fishermen slaughter hundreds of long-finned pilot whales and Atlantic white-sided dolphins during July and August. Conservationists groups are calling for an end to this practice, labeling it outdated and brutal.

A boycott of Faroe Island fish could induce the nation to abandon this centuries-old tradition — fish exports make up 95 percent of the nation’s GDP, meaning any drop in the export business could have a real impact on the country’s economy.

Paul Watson, founder, president, and executive director of Sea Shepherd, wrote an open letter to Costco CEO Craig Jelinek, calling for the company to boycott Faroe Island salmon. In response, Bill Mardon, a seafood buyer for Costco, penned an email regarding fish-buying practices:

Costco Wholesale buys a tiny portion of its farmed salmon from the Faroe Islands. Because of our progress in sourcing from other countries (including Norway), we previously determined that our members would see better value if we discontinued the Faroe sourcing. Pre-existing commitments to the Faroe supplier, which we are advised has not participated in the whale fishery, are being honored but not renewed. We express no view on activities of the citizens of Faroe that are unrelated to our product sourcing.

Regardless of the reason, Costco is discontinuing Faroe-sourced fish. The email does explicitly say that Costco is not discontinuing its contracts, nor is it condemning any practices of Faroe citizens.

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