year year

Year in Review

We are committed to ensuring the freshest fish on the consumer's table while helping to ensure marine life conservation.
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It is a place of unparalleled majesty. It was in the sea that life first emerged on Earth, four billion years ago. And yet, 80 per cent of the marine world has never been seen or explored. The largest ecosystem on the planet is home to at least 238,000 species and is responsible for much of the world’s biodiversity. The ocean is also the livelihood of three billion people (almost a third of the world’s population), providing food, jobs and ways of living.

Most of the world’s trade is carried out by sea. A key element of humanity’s natural, historical and cultural heritage, the ocean is the basis of a new blue economy, which positions itself as sustainable, safe and pollution-free.

Increasingly visible threats

The sea is also a key place where we may find answers to the climate crisis. The oceans as a whole are one of the lungs of the Earth – forests are the other – and the largest receptor of carbon on the planet, where more than half of global oxygen is produced and at least a quarter of annual carbon dioxide emissions are absorbed. The ocean also regulates the planet’s temperature, absorbing more than 90% of the excess heat caused by greenhouse gases resulting from human activities.

As the ocean warms, the water expands, the polar caps melt and sea levels rise, increasing the risk of flooding, of stronger and more frequent storms and hurricanes, bleaching and killing coral reefs and leading to more significant and more systematic development of often toxic algae.

In addition to these problems there are others all too familiar: intensive fishing, illegal fishing, maritime traffic, deep-sea mining and pollution.

Protecting the oceans means defending humanity. The good news is that there is still time. Not much, but some.

Sustainable strategies

Since the early 1960s, annual global growth in fish consumption has been twice the rate of natural regeneration of fish stocks in the oceans. Several commercially important fish populations, such as the Atlantic bluefin tuna, have declined to the point of being at risk of extinction.
As we sell over 240 species, fish is an essential product and we have developed a strategy aimed at preventing our practices from contributing to overexploitation based on three actions:

  • We prohibit the purchase and sale of species classified as being “Critically Endangered” and without extraordinary licenses.
  • We find aquaculture alternatives or sustainably managed stocks for species listed as “Endangered”.
  • We limit promotional activities to species classified as “Vulnerable” that do not originate from aquaculture or sustainably managed stocks.

In 2022, we reviewed once again the assortment we sell in our stores and the conservation status of all species. In the case of species classified as “Critically Endangered”, we do not sell European eel since 2016, and for the “Endangered” species, we have adapted our strategy and stopped selling African croaker and black hake (among others) caught in the wild. In this report, point 4.3.4. “Sustainable Fishing” from chapter 4 “How We Make a Difference” gives more detailed information on how we are adapting the way we operate.

We also have an aquaculture business, an important area when it comes to fish. Data from 2020 show that fish farms account for more than half of all fish discharged on land, having produced 121 million of the 214 million tonnes of fish. Farmed fish is one of the ways to solve the growing demand for this animal protein. Anticipating these trends, since 2016 we have been investing in offshore aquaculture, where fish can be grown in their natural habitat. At the end of 2022, we had four units in operation, three in Portugal (Sines, Madeira and Vila Real de Sto. António) and one in Morocco.

What we did

See our 2022 key performance indicators.

How we make a difference

Read about our role as responsible corporate citizens.

Message from the Chairman

Read Pedro Soares dos Santos’ message.

Download Centre

For more detailed information, you can download our Annual Report here in full or by chapter.