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Fish fingers containing Russian whitefish still on sale across UK – The Guardian

Fish fingers containing Russian whitefish still on sale across UK

Exclusive: Most major supermarkets have carried on buying Russian-caught fish since Ukraine invasion

A customer shops for frozen meat and fish products at a Sainsbury's supermarket in Walthamstow

Fish fingers sold in most UK supermarkets use whitefish caught by Russian ships, despite many chains pledging to boycott Russian produce.

While supermarkets have taken steps to signal their solidarity with Ukraine, rebranding their chicken kievs as kyivs and taking Russian vodka off the shelves, they have carried on buying its fish.

Big brands such as Birds Eye and Young’s, as well as most major supermarkets, including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons and Asda, still use Russian-caught fish.

When approached for comment, many deferred to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), which said the UK relied heavily on Russia for whitefish and that “complex supply chains” meant it was “difficult to find other sources”.

Of the major supermarkets, only Marks & Spencer and Waitrose said they had stopped using Russian-caught fish in their own products, though Waitrose still stocks brands that use it. Tesco and Asda have stopped buying directly from Russian suppliers.

The government announced in March it would introduce sanctions on Russian whitefish, with a 35% tariff on all imports, but the idea was put on hold after representations from industry.

A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokesperson insisted the sanctions would be going ahead but that it was “subject to further work on the specific implications for the sector”.

Steve Trent, the chief executive of the Environmental Justice Foundation, said: “It is unacceptable that British consumers are being sold fish fingers caught by Russian vessels, unknowingly sending their hard-earned pounds to fund Putin’s war machine. The government should take urgent action to end the sale of Russian-caught fish in the UK.”

More than 30% of the whitefish on sale in Britain is caught by Russian ships, according to estimates from industry body Seafish.

In 2020, the UK imported 432,000 tonnes of whitefish at a value of £778m, meaning the money going to Russia is likely to be in excess of £200m.

UK white fish imports chart

Britain imports almost 10 times the volume of cod and haddock that it is able to catch, with 1.5m fish fingers eaten every day. Fish and chip shops are also heavily reliant on Russian supply.

The shadow fisheries minister, Daniel Zeichner, said: “Doing all we can to stand beside the people of Ukraine means ever-tightening, effective sanctions on Putin’s Kremlin that includes looking at products which have yet to be effectively targeted.

“Labour has been pressing the government on the issue of Russian fish being commonplace on UK supermarket shelves and we are disappointed at their lack of urgency to act on this.”

Russia accounts for about 45% of the world’s whitefish supply, largely pollack, cod and haddock, and there is fierce competition to find other sources.

Much of the Russian fish caught is then deboned in China or elsewhere before being sold to the UK to be processed, which makes it harder for the public to track supply chains.

Aoife Martin, the director of operations at Seafish, said: “A lot of companies have already indicated that they will look at alternative products that they can use in place of Russian fish. But that’s not the sort of thing that you can pivot away from easily or quickly. There isn’t an alternative supply readily available.”

As brands scramble to source whitefish elsewhere, the price of fish fingers and other processed fish is expected to soar.

Andrew Opie, the director of food & sustainability at the BRC, said: “Russian fish is used extensively in the UK food industry, and businesses will be reviewing their sourcing arrangements. Seafood uses complex supply chains, and it can be difficult to find alternative sources which are cost-effective and do not threaten the future of suppliers or breach contracts.

“We are waiting to hear from the government on sanctions and tariffs, but they will be assessing the impact on consumers in terms of price and availability.”

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A Birds Eye spokesperson said: “With the highest inflation in 40 years increasing food and living costs for many families, we are doing everything we can to continue to provide nutritious and affordable fish products, without compromising on our commitment to only use sustainably certified fish.”

Birds Eye said that no sanctions were in place affecting the fish it bought and that it was “accelerating our existing strategy to find alternative sources of sustainable fish” to meet an industry-wide challenge.

A Defra spokesperson said: “We, with our allies and partners, are imposing the most punishing sanctions ever on Russia following its unprovoked and illegal invasion of Ukraine.”

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Glencore Reaches Settlements With U.S., U.K., Brazil on Bribery, Market Manipulation – The Wall Street Journal


The Justice Department in Washington, D.C. The settlement of the investigations removes a distraction for Glencore.

Photo: Ting Shen for The Wall Street Journal

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Reference genomes provide first insights into genetic roots of mustelid physiological and behavioral diversity – Science Daily

Mustelids are the most ecologically and taxonomically diverse family within the order Carnivora. From the tayra in the neotropics to the wolverine in the subarctic, they inhabit a variety of ecological niches and developed corresponding species-specific traits related to their diet, reproductive strategy and morphology. An international team of scientists led by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) conducted a comparative analysis of whole genomes of several mustelids to obtain insights into the molecular basis of these adaptations. The team found that multiple sources of genomic variation contributed to candidate genes, including those that change the number, position, orientation or size of genes in a species’ genome. The latter forms of genomic variation are frequently neglected in genome studies of wildlife species, and the authors argue that this needs to change.

The Mustelidae are the most ecologically and taxonomically diverse family within the mammalian order Carnivora and includes the badgers, ferrets, weasels and otters. Even closely related mustelids often inhabit different ecosystems where they face very different challenges. Consequently, they evolved a large variety of species-specific behavioural, morphological and physiological adaptations related to diet and reproduction. As recent developments in sequencing technologies and analytical methods permit the construction of draft genomes for many wild species, mustelids provide wildlife geneticists with the opportunity to unravel the roots of this diversity by identifying regions in the genome associated with ecologically relevant traits.

“We focused on the subfamily Guloninae, within which several species occupy a variety of ecological niches, ranging from the omnivorous tayra (Eira barbara) in the neotropics to the carnivorous wolverine (Gulo gulo) in the resource-scarce subarctic,” says Lorena Derežanin, a PhD student at the Department of Evolutionary Genetics of the Leibniz-IZW and first author of the paper. “This is the first study comparing the genomes of ecologically disparate species within this diverse subfamily and sheds light on how these species evolved,” says Klaus-Peter Koepfli, a Senior Research Scientist at George Mason University in the US and a co-author on the study.

The research team produced the first reference genome of the tayra and compared it to the available genomes for the wolverine and the sable (Martes zibellina), two other members of the Guloninae that are ecologically quite different. They found that not only do the “single nucleotide variants,” essentially single “letter” changes in the genetic code, contribute to species differences in genes associated with ecologically relevant traits, but that large scale changes known as structural variants were also important, affecting parts of specific genes or multiple genes. “Our results are important, as they demonstrate that many types of processes responsible for genomic variation need to be considered, including those that can rapidly change the number and function of genes in a genome,” says Derežanin. “If we use the metaphor of a book to represent the DNA sequences in a genome, then the kind of changes we are talking about are akin to deleting, moving, or duplicating large chunks of text, on a scale of paragraphs, pages or even whole chapters,” adds Daniel Förster, a scientist at the Leibniz-IZW and senior author of the paper.

The research team identified modifications in many genes that could be associated with the species’ different ecologies. For example, in the genome of the tayra, the only Guloninae species that breeds throughout the year, they found many modifications of pregnancy-related genes. In the wolverine, a circumpolar carnivore that must cope with seasonal food scarcity, many modified genes were associated with diet and body condition. “In a sense, starving for longer periods is part of the wolverine lifestyle, and we identified candidate genes that allow them to cope with this,” says Jörns Fickel, head of the Leibniz-IZW Department of Evolutionary Genetics. “Generating further genomes for species from this diverse mammalian family will be a strong foundation to help us understand how genomes evolve in response to different environmental challenges.”

Story Source:

Materials provided by Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW). Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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Zimbabwe Crumble In Final T20I As Namibia Seal Historic Series Win – 263chat.com

Namibia – 127-8 in 20 overs (Craig Williams 48, Ruben Trumpelmann 19*, Jan Frylinck 15; Wessly Madhevere 2/15, Luke Jongwe 2/16, Sikandar Raza 2/18)

Zimbabwe – 95 all out in 19.1 overs (Tony Munyonga 28, Innocent Kaia 12, Sikandar Raza 12; Gerhard Erasmus 2/9, Jan Frylinck 2/25, Ben Shikongo 1/9)

Namibia won by 32 runs

Zimbabwe suffered a 32-run defeat at the hands of Namibia in the fifth and final T20I match at Queens Sports Club on Tuesday, giving the tourists an historic series victory.

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Going into the match level at two wins apiece, the hosts won the toss and decided to put the visitors in to bat first.

For three overs Namibia made a strong showing, with Craig Williams and Michael van Lingen rattling up 31 runs to give them a cracking start.

But then van Lingen, who hit two fours and scored 12 off seven balls, was caught at the wicket by Richmond Mutumbami off Brad Evans, and Namibia were never to have it so good again.

Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton stayed in with Williams to score nine off 10 balls, 17 runs coming off the next three overs before he was bowled by Jongwe for nine.

Jongwe then struck a major blow when he had Gerhard Erasmus, the hero of Sunday’s match, caught at the wicket second ball without scoring, and wickets continued to fall steadily.

Williams played a superb innings, but four middle-order batters came and went for single-figure scores – two wickets to Jongwe and two to Sikandar Raza.

Jan Frylinck then came in at 84 for five in the 12th over and played with more stability.

At 97, Williams’ fine innings came to an end at 48 with a run-out, Donald Tiripano fielding the ball, after he had faced 39 balls and hit five fours.

Frylinck was then stumped off Wessly Madhevere for 15 off 21 balls, and in the 17th over Namibia were in deep trouble at 106 for eight.

The bowlers could not finish off the innings, though, as Ruben Trumpelmann hit out boldly, while Bernard Scholtz held his end up in support.

Trumpelmann scored 19 not out off 14 balls, with a six and a four, while the partnership added 21 vital runs.

The innings finished at 127 for eight, giving Zimbabwe a target they should be able to reach.

There were two wickets each to Jongwe, Raza and Madhevere, all for less than 20 runs, which was commendable bowling.

Zimbabwe began the chase comfortably enough, with Madhevere and Innocent Kaia scoring 23 together for the first wicket.

However, when Madhevere fell lbw to Frylinck for 10 in the fourth over, disaster struck.

The same bowler bowled out the new man, Regis Chakabva, with his next delivery, and then Kaia was run out for 12.

Three wickets had gone down in four runs, and Zimbabwe were reeling at 27 for three.

The experience of Raza and the cool head of Tony Munyonga now had to repair the damage and put Zimbabwe on the right path again.

For the most part they scored in singles, waiting for the bad balls to look for boundaries.

They added 26 in 4.3 overs before Namibia broke through again, and Raza was caught at the wicket off Ben Shikongo for 12 – 53 for four in the ninth over.

One run later, Mutumbami was bowled by Scholtz, and Zimbabwe were now in serious trouble at 54 for five.

Tiripano batted usefully for three overs, as he and Munyonga scored mainly in singles, until he was caught off Erasmus for 11 off 15 balls, the score now being 72 for six in the 13th over.

Jongwe now joined Munyonga, but the bowling and fielding was too tight for them to score easily, and the run rate rose steadily to more than 10 an over.

Effectively the last nail was hammered into the home side’s coffin when Munyonga was bowled by Wiese after 17 overs for a fine fighting innings of 28 off 31 balls – the only Zimbabwe batter to score more than 12 runs in the match.

The score was now 88 for seven, with 40 runs needed off the final three overs.

Jongwe was then run out for seven, Brad Evans bowled by Erasmus for two, and finally Brandon Mavuta was caught off Trumpelmann to complete the rout for 95 runs with five balls left unbowled.

All six bowlers used took at least one wicket, with Frylinck and Erasmus picking up two.

This is Namibia’s first T20I series victory against a Full Member.

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