Industrial concentration can sometimes be good for the environment, if not cheap prices or even economic playing fields.

This week a group of mass retailers and processors of Northeast Atlantic Cod (Espersen (Privately held, Danish), Nomad Foods Europe (NOMD on the NYSE), Icelandic Seachill/The Saucy Fish Co. (Icelandic Holding company/subsidiary), Young’s Seafood Ltd (Privately held, British), Tesco (TSCO on the LSS), Morrisons (MRW on the LSS), ASDA (British subsidiary of WalMart (WMT on the NYSE)), Marks and Spencer (MKS.L on LSS), Sainsbury’s (JSNSF on OTC) and McDonalds (MCD on NYSE)) acted in concert with Norwegian and Russian fishermen (Fiskebåt, Karat) to stem the trawl fishing that Greenpeace has identified moving toward Svalbard as the Arctic ice retreats and grants access.

The interrelations of these firms is at least as interesting as their size: Espersen supplies all the Russian McDonald’s with Karat holding company pollock for their filet-o-fishes, for example.

The groups have signed an agreement not to expand toward the ecologically fragile archipelago in search of more cod, and have arranged further cooperative talks (a High Level Roundtable) with relevant Norwegian governmental agencies and institutions. The agreement states: “The objectives of the High-Level Roundtable will be to establish a transparent process that will continue to enable Cod to be sourced from the area but also to meet the MSC independent sustainable fishery standard for activities beyond 2016″

– in other words – how can we catch a lot of NE Atlantic cod without trawlers? Let’s get together and see…

Image credit: By Gunnar Berg – University Library of Tromsø – online, Public Domain,