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*A.S. Watson: PARKnSHOP Frozen Store, PARKnSHOP Superstore, Gourmet, Great and Supa Depa
◊ Jasons Food & Living, Wellcome Superstore


Can you imagine that the seafood you bought is not what you expected to get? Or will the product be threatened species? And will it be associated with slavery issues? In Hong Kong, we currently have no legal requirement in place to compel the provision of seafood information including the species (scientific name), the specific country of origins, and production method (at least identifying either farmed or wild caught) on seafood products. It could be difficult for consumers to purchase reliable, safe and sustainable seafood choices.

Why this matters?

In October 2016, WWF-Hong Kong announced the results of an investigation called Seafood Supply Chain Risk in Hong Kong Supermarkets 1 , elaborating how Hong Kong supermarket groups are selling globally threatened species, alleged slavery products and associated with a range of environmental, social and legal risks, in terms of frozen shrimp, grouper, sea cucumber and basa products. Recently, WWF has released a survey on insufficient information and mislabelled seafood products in major supermarket groups to highlight the importance of information transparency.

The availability of seafood information and the provision of appropriate labeling / information (correct and detailed) regarding species, country of origin and production method on seafood products is critical. If these aspects of information are not available, no way consumers can check the sustainability of seafood and stay away from consuming globally threatened species 2. Even worse, the lack of such information or inappropriate labeling of seafood could cheat consumers to pay higher price for a wrongly-labeled lower-value species and hide harmful practices like illegal fishing or poorly-regulated aquaculture 3. Inappropriate labeling such as wrong information given to seafood can even threaten consumers’ health, such as the oil fish sold in Hong Kong 4. In addition, when the supermarkets collect and provide such seafood information, they will obtain accurate information such as the farm sources which might also facilitate the checking, accurate and effective recall of seafood which is potentially unfit for human consumption, such as the recent case of the hairy crab in Hong Kong 5.

How you could help us?

As consumers, most, if not all, of us want to make informed choices, for the sake of environmental sustainability, food safety and to be sure we get what we pay for. Supermarket should put in place a sustainable seafood procurement policy and improve selling practice which can address these issues.

However, we cannot do this without you! Please kindly spend a minute to take part in our poll to express your support to our ask to supermarkets!

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