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Charity takes complaint about scampi to Competition and Markets Authority

Environmental campaigners have made a formal complaint about supermarkets describing scampi as being “responsibly sourced”.

The charity Open Seas has lodged an official complaint with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), claiming that to describe scampi in such a way conceals “many environmental problems”.

The charity last year started a campaign in a bid to tackle the “extensive damage” caused to the marine environment and seabed by trawling practices used to catch the langoustines for scampi.

Open Seas believes this means that describing the product as “responsibly sourced” breaches CMA guidance which required marketing claims to be both “truthful and accurate” and “clear and unambiguous”.

Commenting on the complaint, Nick Underdown, head of campaigns with Open Seas, said: “Catching large volumes of young fish against scientific advice is not responsible. Trawling over fragile marine habitats is not responsible. An increased risk of forced labour and human trafficking within the scampi supply chain is not responsible.

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“Businesses failing to address these problems is not responsible. The way scampi is produced has all the hallmarks of an irresponsible fishery.

“We’ve raised these concerns with supermarkets, but they continue to sell scampi as ‘responsibly sourced’.”

He continued: “Language is important and the term ‘responsibly sourced’ is used repeatedly on packaging to give the impression of responsibility, whilst concealing the many environmental problems and human rights issues associated with scampi.

“We look forward to the consideration of our concerns by the CMA. Consumers should not be misled by products being marketed in this way.”

A spokesperson for the British Retail Consortium said: “Retailers are committed to sourcing scampi responsibly, working closely with stakeholders and suppliers to ensure products meet customer expectations on sustainability.”