Greenpeace calls on Portuguese supermarkets to act on oceans destruction

Last ranked retailer is awarded the Golden Fishbone prize

Press release - 19 May, 2009
Greenpeace detailed the progress of its seafood markets campaign in Portugal with the launch of the Second Retailers Ranking. Modelo and Continente (from the Sonae Group) climbed from last to second position. Pingo Doce and Feira Nova (from Jerónimo Martins) are now at the bottom of the ranking and were awarded with the Greenpeace Golden Fishbone Award.


One year after challenging the supermarkets, Greenpeace reassessed the fish purchasing policies of five of the main foodretailers in Portugal in order to show Portuguese consumers “Who got better and who didn’t care” (1).The groups Auchan, Os Mosqueteiros and Jerónimo Martins are still far from showing a responsible approach towards the concerns raised about our fish and oceans, and continue to ignore all alerts Greenpeace has sent them.

The supermarkets Pingo Doce and Feira Nova achieved the worst results in the ranking and Jerónimo Martins was awarded with the Fishbone prize, which represents the future of marine life if this attitude does not change.

 “Pingo Doce claims to support and preserve the oceans, but ignores the thousands of requests from the Portuguese people to improve its offer of sustainable fish. The oceans are in crisis and this cannot just beignored”, said Beatriz Carvalho, responsible for the Seafood Markets Campaignin Portugal. “For instance, scientists have shown that 90% of the ocean’s large fish – such as cod, tuna and swordfish - have already been fished out. We urgently need tomove away from words and start taking real action!” she added.

 Lidl and Sonae (Modelo and Continente) contacted Greenpeace after the launch of the first ranking (2) and are now looking at ways of implementing a purchasing policy that guarantees only sustainable, equitable and legal fish is sold in their stores. Greenpeace congratulates both companies, but reminds them that this is just the first step towards theprotection of our planet’s marine resources and that there’s still a long wayto go.

For Greenpeace, transparency in supermarkets’ fish purchasing policies is key for consumers to be able to make a responsible choice. For instance, lack of information available on the fish products’ labels makes it impossible to know whether the fish the consumer is buying is legal or was stolen from the seas (1).

 “Last year, Greenpeace chained four pirate vessels to the Aveiro port in order to highlight the fact that illegal fish is entering the Portuguese market”, said Beatriz. “Illegal, pirate fishing is a serious problem and supermarkets must demand from their suppliers the information necessary to be able to trace the fish all the way back from their fishcounters to the vessel that captured it.”

 The oceans are in crisis and Greenpeace advocates that food retailers not only have the economic power to change the fishing industry, but also have the social responsibility to protect small and local fishermen’s resources and their sustainability.

“It’s impossible to estimate the value ofthe oceans”, said Lara Teunissen, spokesperson for Greenpeace in Portugal. “Injust the time it takes us to draw a breath, the equivalent of ten footballfields is destroyed at the bottom of the seas by unsustainable fishing practices. There’s no time to waste if we want to guarantee that future generations of Portuguese people can also enjoy the taste of cod”.

VVPR info: Beatriz Carvalho, responsible for the Greenpeace Seafood Markets Campaign in Portugal +351 915595340  

Lara Teunissen, spokes person for Greenpeace in Portugal+31 64616 2042

Notes: 1. Second Retailers Ranking available here:º LIDL 51%2º SONAE 37%3º OS MOSQUETEIROS 10%4º AUCHAN 9%5º JERÓNIMO MARTINS 6%

2. In August, 2008, Greenpeace failed all the main Portuguese supermarket chains since none had a sustainable fish buying policy. The First Retailers Ranking in Portugal is available here:

3. Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing (IUU), also known as pirate fishing, is responsible for 19% of the world’s fish captures. Besides stealing resources from the poorest populations in the world, this illegal practice prevents the efficient management of marine resources. In October, 2008, Greenpeace chained four pirate vessels from the Silva Vieira Group to the Aveiro Port. Greenpeace’s Black List of Pirate Vessels at