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Some Eco-label Farmed Fish 'Not Better for Environment'

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Farmed fish sold under the Marks & Spencer eco-label is no better for the environment than conventionally farmed fish, a study on the sustainability claims of major fish producers says.

The report from the University of Victoria found that many of the so-called eco-labels were not much better than conventional farmed fish when it came to protecting the oceans, and some - including those produced under the Marks & Spencer brand - were actually worse.

"They have set criteria that currently sit below the normative performance of conventional industry," said lead author John Volpe, who heads the Seafood Ecology Research Group at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada. "What this analysis makes clear is that the criteria a producer might meet to acquire the Marks & Spencer label is already below industry-wide practice."

A spokeswoman for Marks & Spencer said that the company was very disappointed by the report and that its commitment to sustainable fishing went beyond labels. "We have developed an industry leading aquaculture standard that we apply to all the farmed fish we use in our business, including that used as an ingredient in prepared food, which very few other major retailers do," said Emma Johnson.

She criticised the report for including only two retailers - Marks & Spencer and Whole Foods - on its list of 20 standards developed by organic associations, industry groups and supermarkets in the US, UK, Europe and Australia.

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