Starting this week, Sainsbury’s will be the UK’s first major grocer to offer farmed river cobbler (also known as basa or catfish) certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC). This less known white fish is considered a more abundant alternative to cod and haddock and has been commercially farmed in the Mekong Delta since early 2000.
The chain has been partnering with ASC since 2011 to ensure that this particular Vietnamese fish can be certified, which depends on the farming of river cobbler meeting certain comprehensive environmental and social criteria as set by ASC standard. A key concern is ensuring that the feed used to raise the fish for around nine months is sourced from sustainable sources.
“Customers are often confused what fish they should or shouldn’t eat due to where it’s sourced from. This gives them clear confidence that they’re enjoying a responsibly sourced fish – which tastes great,” said Ben Wheeley, fish buyer at Sainsbury’s.
He referred to it as a “really versatile” fish and recommended baking it and serving it with some greens or adding it to a pea and mint risotto.
Sainsbury’s called this launch is a key step toward its commitment for all fish it sells to be independently certified as sustainable by 2020. It is already the number one UK retailer for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) for the third year running with over 130 products, from the fish counter to ready meals.
“As the leading UK retailer of certified seafood this is an important milestone for the ASC,” stated Chris Ninnes, CEO of the ASC. “Customers now have the choice to buy farmed fish that has been produced with little to no impact on the environment and with respect for local communities.”
“ASC’s global certification programme encourages the use of best practices in aquaculture, recognises and promotes the sale of responsibly produced farmed fish, and reassures consumers that the fish they buy has been produced in a responsible manner. Look out for the ASC logo on pack,” he added.
The products which will be skinless and boneless include river cobbler fillets 250g, Smoked river cobbler 240g and Lightly Dusted river cobbler 260g all priced at GBP 2.25 (EUR 2.67) per pack.
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