Loblaw, Canada’s largest food retailer has vowed to sell only “sustainably sourced” seafood in its stores by the end of 2013.

Executive chairman Galen Weston said the world’s oceans are “facing an unprecedented crisis” and Loblaw has set out a ‘Sustainable Seafood Policy Initiative’ to determine how it sources seafood.

Over the next 12 months, Loblaw said it would begin assessing all sources of wild and farmed seafood in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund.

The retailer has also promised to work through its supply chain to prepare for audits to MSC standards.

The retailer admitted yesterday (20 May) that some “very tough decisions” on supply would have to be made “ including the phasing-out of unsustainable supply where it cannot be demonstrably improved”.

Loblaw’s plans have won support from the WWF. “This initiative is one of the most ambitious and comprehensive steps we have seen from a grocery retailer in Canada, and indeed the world,” said WWF-Canada president and CEO Gerald Butts.