Sheba Entrees for Cats, part of Mars Petcare, announced last week that it will begin to offer sustainably-sourced fish entrees in the U.S. Currently, Sheba offers five varieties of sustainably-sourced whitefish, tuna and seafood options. By the end of 2013, all of its entrees will come from sustainably-sourced fish. This commitment helps its parent company meet its commitment to use only sustainably-sourced fish by 2020. Sheba will follow the sourcing recommendations by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program.
“As the world’s leading pet care company, we understand the importance of our ingredient-sourcing choices and how they can make a positive impact on the environment,” said Tina Garcia, marketing services director, Mars Petcare U.S. “By using responsibly-sourced fish for our SHEBA Entrées, we have made it easy for pet owners to shop with confidence and to reward the most environmentally responsible fishing practices.”
Mars has other goals concerning its fish supply chain, which include replacing all wild catch whole fish and fish fillet with sustainable fish-by products and sustainable aquaculture, and only using sustainable alternatives to marine fish ingredients. In Europe, Mars uses Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification to ensure that its brands contain sustainably-sourced seafood. According to the company’s website, “a selection of Sheba and Whiskas cat food varieties in Europe has carried the MSC logo since January 2011.”
The need for sustainable seafood supply chains
There are many cat owners in the U.S. According to a 2011-2012 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 62 percent of American households own a pet, about 72.9 million homes, and 38.9 million own a cat. That’s a lot of cat owners buying cat food, and every cat owner who has read the label on the food they buy for their cat knows that many of them contain some type of fish.
Overfishing is a problem for the world’s fisheries. According to the UN’s Food & Agriculture Organization’s World Review of Fisheries and Aquaculture, 53 percent of the world’s fisheries are exploited and 32 percent are overexploited, depleted or recovering from depletion. Overfishing is one of the “major culprits in the rapid deterioration of marine ecosystem…in large part due to the growth of industrial-scale fishing,” a report by Monterey Bay Aquarium stated.
Commitments by companies, like the one Sheba and its parent company have made, help restore fisheries. The good news is that making a commitment to source sustainable seafood is becoming popular. Just a few months ago, in January, McDonald’s shifted its entire seafood supply chain to MSC approved fish. Whole Foods Market stopped selling wild-caught fish with a “red-rating,” which means that a species is overfished, on Earth Day (April 22). In 2011, Shaw’s Supermarkets launched a sustainable seafood program with MSC and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. The program ensures that all fish sold at the company’s supermarkets can be traced back to its source.
Image credit: PR Newswire