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Matti Kalervo: For sustainable fish populations

Matti Kalervo | 14.09.2017

Soon we will put rubber boots on our feet and our hands in clay and together with the wildlife conservation organization WWF we will wade into rivers to conserve Finland's endangered migratory fish populations.

As part of our extensive and multi-year cooperation with WWF, Kesko is helping to map Finland’s rivers, streams and brooks to find the barriers that prevent fish returning to their spawning grounds. Then, landowners, local K-retailers and volunteers will work together in a spirit of cooperation to remove those barriers. Our aim is also to raise awareness about Finland’s endangered migratory fish populations. Fish may not be cuddly or collect sympathy points, but the truth is that all of Finland’s migratory fish are endangered. The sea trout is even more endangered than the Saima ringed seal.

The cooperation continues our long-term work to safeguard sustainable fish stocks. We comply with the recommendations of WWF's Seafood Guide and you will not find endangered species marked with a red traffic light sign on our shelves. And, our own Fish and Shellfish Statement will turn ten this year.

As an active societal actor, we have made a strong stand on the issue of fisheries. A few years ago, the fish soup boiled over when we strictly kept to the recommendations of the WWF's Seafood Guide, which led to direct disruption in the market. The WWF had placed Finland’s Atlantic Salmon on the endangered list and we appreciated that it was made off-limits. When we removed the endangered species from our range, people even began to talk about the market disruption we initiated.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry convened a national strategy work group for salmon and sea trout, which we have been in from the beginning. The group reached consensus on large-scale measures and Finland’s Atlantic salmon population began to recover so promisingly that the WWF could move it off the red list and onto its yellow list.

Modern consumers are becoming more aware and we want to help them make sustainable choices. In the spring, we introduced the Pirkka fish patty to our stores, which has quickly gained great popularity. The raw material of the Pirkka fish patty is bream, which is caught by using the sustainable fishing methods of the John Nurminen Foundation. In K-Citymarkets and K-Supermarkets you will find Benella rainbow trout for sale; the environmental aspects of this species are strongly taken into account in their breeding. K-retailers are also involved in considerable cooperation with local fishermen and, far from Finland, our cooperation with Plan International will continue working on responsibility issues in the Thai fishing industry and improving the status of migrant workers.

Putting on rubber boots and grabbing a spade is a logical continuation of our long-term commitment to working with one of the world's most respected environmental organisations. We take care to ensure that customers can shop in K-stores with a good conscience, but as the world’s most sustainable trading sector company, it is obvious we need to extend our reach far beyond the walls of our stores.

Important voluntary work to open spawning grounds has already progressed far in Finland. Now we want to invite the whole country to talk about saving our migratory fish. These work groups will need all the help they can get. Please read more about migratory fish or even sign up to a work group at:

Matti Kalervo
Vice President, Corporate Responsibility

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