Sustainable Seafood from SPAR

18 June 2024

Sustainable Seafood is more than just a good deal for our marine ecosystems, it makes business sense too. WWF-SASSI is committed to working hand-in-hand with the seafood industry towards a future in which sustainable fisheries and aquaculture thrive at a level that supports the communities and businesses that depend on them.


The SPAR Group Ltd Sustainable Seafood Policy

The SPAR Group Ltd (SPAR) acknowledges that:


  1. There is global concern over the over-exploitation of seafood resources and the environmental impacts of fishing and aquaculture activities on marine ecosystems;
  2. Retailers and wholesalers are major role players in the seafood industry and can help drive positive change in fisheries by supporting sustainable seafood changes from legal and responsibly managed sources, creating market driven incentives for compliance at sea.

SPAR understands that if we are to ensure the survival of our marine ecosystems and continue to enjoy seafood, we need to ensure that our seafood is responsibly procured and supports sustainable and well managed fisheries and aquaculture operations.
SPAR defines sustainable seafood as: Seafood which originates from a fishery or farm which could continue to operate indefinitely without reducing the target species for any other species in the marine ecosystem’s ability to maintain a viable population. A sustainable species should:

  • Not be a species that is regarded as endangered or threatened

  • Be caught in a well-managed fishery

  • Be caught using responsible fishing methods

  • Be traceable from “boat to plate”


SPAR also believes in the following principles:

1. Sustainable Sourcing
2. Product Criteria
3. Product Quality and Food Safety
4. Traceability
5.  Communication
6. Labelling
7. Training and Education


1.Sustainable Sourcing

Seafood products from SPAR’s Distribution Centres and Private Label should be legal (no illegal, unregulated or unreported products). Furthermore, All SPAR and non-SPAR brand seafood are fully traceable and.


  • Certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) for wild-caught products or;
  • Certified by the Aquaculture (ASC) or equivalent standards for farmed products
    • Or;
  • Where there are no products available which meet these criteria, at a minimum all seafood products from SPAR Distribution Centres including SPAR Private Label will be:
    • Characterized as either Green or Orange by the Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI); or
    • Sourced from a fishery or farm which is engaged in a credible time-bound improvement project to improve the fishery/ farm to MSC or ASC standards or WWF-SASSI Green List status

2.Product Criteria

SPAR Distribution Centes will not source:


  • Any species appearing on the “Lists of marine species that are threatened or protected, restricted activities that are prohibited and exemption from restriction”, Government Gazette No. 476 of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004
  • Species characterized as “no-sale” or “specifically protected” by the South African legislation;
  • Species below the legal-size limit enforced by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

3.Product Quality and Food Safety


All new seafood products through SPAR’s Distribution Centres including SPAR Private Label are subjected to continuous improvement and considered against strict legal, traceability and sustainability criteria. DNA testing will be conducted biannually on the seafood products to ensure the proper labelling of seafood products, as well as proper product identification. 



Seafood procured through SPAR should be traceable to its origins, making use of suitable traceability schemes or mechanisms. All suppliers will be required to meet the sustainability commitments made by SPAR and maintain full traceability records to ensure all supply is of sustainable origin. This includes:


  • A certificate of origin and
  • Catch certificates



Retailers and suppliers should communicate their sustainability commitments to the public and be held accountable to them. Similarly, SPAR will communicate its Seafood Sustainability Policy to suppliers to ensure compliance. 



In order to be able to make environmentally responsible choices, consumers and clients have the right to sufficient information about any seafood product procured by SPAR. All seafood procured by SPAR should be adequately labelled and provide information on the:


  • Species (common and scientific name)
  • Country of origin
  • Production method (fishing gear used, or wild-capture/farmed)

7.Training and Education


Sustainable choices should be promoted, and retailers and staff should be adequately trained where possible to assist customers in making sustainable choices. SPAR employees involved in the sourcing and selling of seafood products shall attend sustainable seafood training.
SPAR will encourage its independent SPAR retailers to attend such training and to make use of the WWF-SASSI tool available.
Although SPAR cannot dictate procurement policies to its independent retailers, SPAR Group is committed to implementing positive changes to seafood procurement at all SPAR retail stores through continuous information and education.


SPAR Brand Sustainable Seafood

Below are the sources of our some of our private label seafood and the steps we are taking to ensure their sustainability

Canned Tuna

SPAR Canned Tuna products are bought from a cannery which is in accordance with the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) Standards. These companies go through an annual review to ensure that they are meeting the ISSF conservation measures which, in the long term, aim to transition global fisheries to a point where they will be compliant with the MSC standard for sustainable wild-capture fisheries. To track these companies’ progress, SPAR requests and reviews a copy of the annual ISSG company report and works with our supplier to address any areas of non-compliance.

All tuna in SPAR Private Label canned tuna products is traceable back to the boat that caught it. SPAR, together with its supplier and source cannery/ processor has ensured that all source vessels supplying tuna for its canned tuna products are registered on the ProActive Vessel Register (PVR). This enables SPAR to have line of sight of on-the-water practices of all source tuna vessels that provide raw material for the SPAR Private Label canned tuna products thus enabling SPAR to verify each batch of canned tuna that it procures.


Norwegian Salmon

SPAR currently procures farmed Norwegian Salmon, this is listed as orange on the WWF-SASSI list. All Norwegian Salmon procured for SPAR Private Label products are sourced from farms that are affiliated to the Global Salmon Initiative (GSI – 

hake.jpg Namibian Hake

SPAR procures some of its hake from Namibia. Namibian Hake received MSC certification in 2020 which is aligned with SPAR’s commitment to sustainable seafood..



SPAR procures prawns wild-caught in Argentina. The prawns caught in Argentina are procured from suppliers engaged in two Fishery Improvement Projects (FIP) – one for the onshore fishery and another for the offshore fishery – with the aim of these fisheries being certified by the MDC by 2024. For more information on these fisheries please see below links:

See also:
Sustainable Seafood Policy
Link to SASSI retailer/supplier participants