K Group (Kesko and K-stores) and WWF Finland to cooperate on behalf of endangered migratory fish: “Mating Belongs to All”

K Group (Kesko and K-stores) and the wildlife conservation organization WWF Finland will begin several years of wide ranging cooperation to conserve and increase endangered migratory fish populations. The cooperation will be recognised by the “Mating Belongs to all” ("Kuteminen kuuluu kaikille") slogan.

As part this significant cooperation, K Group and WWF Finland will jointly map different parts of Finland to find obstacles in migratory fish spawning grounds and in a spirit of cooperation with local landowners, local K-retailers and volunteers make the spawning grounds once again accessible for fish. The aim is to generate more awareness of and discussion about Finland’s endangered migratory fish populations.

The position of Finland’s migratory fish population is fraught because in building our society we have blocked the access of fish to their spawning grounds in rivers and streams. For example, the sea trout is currently even more endangered than the Saimaa ringed seal.

“The swimming of fish upstream can be stopped by a single culvert or an old mill dam. Thus, the cooperation between K Group and WWF Finland aims to systematically map and remove these small barriers. To do this voluntary work in the coming years we need everyone helping – the public sector, businesses and citizens,” says Elina Erkkilä, WWF Finland’s Conservation Officer.

“The cooperation is a continuation of our long-term work to safeguard sustainable stocks. Modern consumers are more knowledgeable and we want help consumers make sustainable choices. So, we are enthusiastic about putting rubber boots on our feet and putting our hands in the clay because as the world's most responsible retail company and we want to extend our helping hands beyond the walls of our stores,” says Matti Kalervo, Kesko Vice President, Corporate Responsibility.

Migratory Fish Populations Can Be Conserved

In the initial phases of cooperation, we will focus on mapping the barriers to spawning grounds. The voluntary work to remove the barriers will begin on a broader scale in 2018. The dismantling of one barrier can open several kilometres of free-flowing freshwater in the eco-system, allowing migratory fish an environment in which to live and reproduce.

“In Finland fish is eaten more diversely than before and its significance to our culture is enormous –1.4 million people go hobby fishing in our country. Out migratory fish populations are conservable but doing that demands the spirit of voluntary work, so we will cooperate with WWF Finland to spread ideas and actions ever further," says Kalervo.

The cooperation will be seen along Finland’s riverbanks and in K-stores, where it will be identified by the ‘Mating Belongs to All’ – slogan. The progress of this multi-year cooperation can be followed at the cooperation's website (in Finnish).

K Group commits to long-term work to ensure sustainable fish populations

The cooperation is part of K Group’s long-term work to ensure sustainable fish populations. The K Group has strictly followed WWF Finland's Seafood Guide recommendations and K Group's own fish and shellfish policy will turn 10 next year. According to the policy, K Group will not, for example, sell endangered fish species – fish marked with a red traffic light sign in WWF Finland's Seafood Guide.

“K Group has been an important partner for us in earlier times and is strongly committed to WWF Finland's recommendations and we are delighted that we are now working together on a tangible project,” says Erkkilä.

Follow the progress of the cooperation and see below the animation showing Finland’s migratory fish populations as well as their spawning grounds and the positive effects that removing barriers can have.

Read more about WWF Finland's work on free-flowing freshwater (in Finnish).

More information:
Matti Kalervo, Vice President, Corporate Responsibility, Kesko Corporation, matti.kalervo@kesko.fi, tel. +358 50 306 4081.
Lauri Peltola, Executive Vice President, marketing, communications, responsibility and corporate relations, Kesko Corporation, lauri.peltola@kesko.fi, tel. +358 505 705 606.
Matti Ovaska, Fisheries Officer (sustainable fishing), WWF Finland, matti.ovaska@wwf.fi, tel. +358 40 727 3149.
Elina Erkkilä, Conservation Officer (freshwater, fieldwork for removing obstacles in waters), WWF Finland, elina.erkkila@wwf.fi, tel. +358 50 522 4540.

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