With this move, the retailer is looking to build more strategic, long-term partnerships with Scottish suppliers while focusing on best practice and performance through its new salmon farming standard. The group will include stakeholders from across the supply chain, such as key suppliers and long-standing processor Farne Salmon and Trout Ltd.
The Group’s salmon sales volumes are up 22% year-on-year and it plans to invest in sector research and aims to work more closely with local communities in the Scottish mainland and islands where Scottish salmon is farmed.
Suppliers joining the farming group will be invited to work towards a bronze, silver and gold pillar system, which will place a strong emphasis on fish welfare and environmental impacts.
Earlier this year the Group pledged to source only 100% fresh own-brand British meat.
Co-op’s fish sustainability manager Aisla Jones said: “We’re proud to sell 100% fresh farmed Scottish salmon in our stores, and at a time when consumer demand is rising now is the perfect time to launch this new Scottish Salmon Farming Group.
“It will build on our already-strong sustainability credentials and will allow us to mirror the success we’ve seen across other Co-op farming groups, by enhancing and cementing our existing supplier relationships. We also want to make a positive impact within the Scottish communities that produce our world-class salmon and help future-proof the industry for generations to come.”
Dale Hill, Farne Salmon’s head of aquaculture and quality, added: “It’s great to see the salmon sector in such growth and we’re delighted that the Co-op is investing further in the suppliers it works with and also the communities that they sit within.”
The Co-op has been a member of the Sustainable Seafood Coalition since 2011 and all of its sourcing and labelling meets the SSC codes of conduct. It is also working with the Sustainable Fishers Partnership to improve seafood sustainability.