Victory - 3 retailers refuse stolen Baltic cod

Axfood AB, Lidl and the ICA group act on Greenpeace information

Feature story - 12 September, 2006
Major Scandinavian food retail chains Netto Sweden, Lidl Sweden and Axfood (Willy's/Hemköp) have promised to quit buying cod from the Baltic Sea. At least a third of the cod caught and landed in the Baltic is stolen, and pirate fishing is making the recovery of certain populations impossible.

Shy youth Young Baltic cod hiding on the seabed behind floating seaweed.

Cod are severely over fished in the northern European seas and most are caught before they are two years old and have even had a chance to reproduce.

"This is an important step towards saving the endangered cod stock of the Baltic", said Ida Udovic, Greenpeace ocean campaigner on board the Arctic Sunrise. "It's good that large retail chains are now taking action where our politicians have failed."

The Arctic Sunrise is in the Baltic Sea highlighting the issue of pirate fishing throughout the region. We're demanding a network of marine reserves to shut down the pirate trade, and allow vital cod stocks to recover.

Details of the deals

Axfood AB

, one of the largest food retailers in Scandinavia agreed to withdraw a batch of frozen cod filets from their shelves at their 100 Willy's stores since the producer Västkustfilé could not guarantee that the products do not contain fish caught illegally.

Lidl Sweden

, according to previous Greenpeace demands, will only buy cod that is landed in Norwegian and Icelandic harbours to minimize the risk of buying illegally caught cod from the Barents Sea.


, will stop buying Baltic cod as of today.

Only a beginning

"It is incredible that any company could continue to buy cod from an endangered stock that could be illegally caught." added Udovic.

Yet, many other fish retailers continue to be complicit in the trade of illegally and unsustainably caught Baltic cod.  For example, ICA group

has said it will continue buying Baltic cod, and

Bergendahlsgruppen/City Gross

has still not even answered our requests for information.

Marine reserves

Marine reserves make controls much easier than the current patchwork of regulations that have made proper enforcement almost impossible. In addition all fishing vessels in the Baltic should have a device onboard enabling electronic surveillance, controls ashore and off shore should increase and a black list for all vessels caught cheating should be established.

Arctic Sunrise weblog

Read updates from the Arctic Sunrise in the Baltic.