Kit Davies
Marine Stewardship Council chief executive Brendan May says Sainsbury's commitment to source all wild fish from sustainable fisheries by 2010 "sends strong signals to other retailers".
May said he hoped other retailers "would pursue sourcing policies similar to this excellent example".
And this week the Co-operative Group, which currently only stocks MSC Birds Eye New Zealand hoki, said it was planning to launch own label fish with the MSC accreditation.
A spokesman said it was currently looking at a number of options for both fresh and processed fish.
"We continue to support the MSC's activities within Co-operative Retail as part of our broad Responsible Retailing policy. However, this is only one area of our approach, and we have been exploring sustainable sources of the fish that we sell, considering the fishing grounds in the North Sea and North Atlantic, alongside evaluating the fishing methods that may be used for the various products in our range."
Sainsbury, Marks and Spencer, Unilever and the Co-operative Bank, are among the corporate funders of the MSC.
JS was the first supermarket to back the eco-label in 1998.
MSC lines are still limited in volume. To date Sainsbury, M&S, Tesco and Iceland have MSC own labels.
Young's Bluecrest and Birds Eye MSC hoki is listed across the other multiples, and Waitrose stocks Young's Bluecrest Fish for Life MSC Alaskan salmon fillets.
Ian Merton, Sainsbury's food trading director said: "This commitment illustrates how important it is to ensure we only sell fish from sustainable sources. We constantly strive to minimise our impact on the world around us while continuing to bring our customers more wild fish."
Sainsbury says it has seen a 73% increase in sales of fresh Alaskan salmon over the past year with the addition of the MSC logo.
Approximately 40% of Sainsbury's fish should be MSC approved by 2006 and a number of new MSC products are currently being developed by the multiple.
The volume of MSC lines can only be driven up by fisheries meeting its tough standards.
>>p45 MSC fishes for lasting victory