What is in this article?:
- BJâ€™s Announces New Seafood Sustainability Policy
- Supervalu Expands Sustainability
- FMI to Provide New Seafood Sustainability Tool Kit
- Trips to Seafood Departments Declined in 2011
Seafood sustainability has been in the news recently as BJ's and Safeway reported on developments at their chains, and FMI announced during the Boston Seafood Show that it would soon release a seafood sustainability toolkit. Also at the show was a presentation detailing last year's seafood sales.
WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — BJ’s Wholesale Club here last week announced a new sustainable seafood policy that will ensure that all seafood products sold in the company’s stores are sourced from suppliers identified as sustainable, or on track to meet sustainability standards by 2014. The program was developed in partnership with leading non-profit groups including the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, the Marine Stewardship Council and the Global Aquaculture Alliance.
Development of the policy began in early 2010, when the company began a dialogue with these non-profits, Scott Williams, manager of product development and quality assurance for BJ’s Wholesale Club, told SN.
“We knew we weren’t the experts and we wanted to get somebody who was,” he said, noting that BJ’s has since worked most extensively with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership.
The new policy will affect all of the company’s seafood suppliers, who will be required to implement fishing and harvesting methods that protect aquatic species and ocean habitats. For example, with wild-caught fish, new guidelines help ensure that the fish are legally caught and that suppliers have remained within their catch quotas for that species. And, aquaculture operations will be required to limit their use of chemicals and implement safeguards that prevent farmed fish from escaping or otherwise affecting wild fish populations.
The guidelines also encourage suppliers and fisheries to maintain and use the latest technology to make harvesting less destructive to ocean habitats and to other aquatic species, such as dolphins and turtles.
The motivation for developing the policy was two-fold, Williams said.
“One was supply. It’s the last [commercially] hunted protein out there. So, we had to look around and see how we could supply a large volume” in the long term, he said. Second, “we were starting to see that a lot of our suppliers were doing good things. But we wanted to figure out what the message was that we wanted to send out as a retailer. We wanted to build our own sustainability policy.”
As the policy is implemented during the next two years, Williams said that club members will be able to learn more about these standards via links on the company’s web site and social media sites. In-store signage will also include QR codes to help shoppers access that information with smartphones. But this isn’t a marketing program. The goal of these low-key efforts is to provide easy access to as much information as a customer wants to know.
“The primary thing that we’re doing is what we call ‘choice editing,’” he said. “That means that everything we offer will meet our sustainability guidelines. The customer won’t need a scorecard. They’ll know, if it’s on our shelves, it’s meeting those guidelines.”
BJ’s Wholesale Club has already implemented several quality and sustainability enhancements to its seafood program, “including DNA testing on all fresh and frozen fish, chemical free seafood that does not include artificial ingredients including sodium tripolyphosphate which is often used to retain water in shrimp, and moving tilapia production to a modern farm that meets GAA standards. Additionally, all canned fish sold at BJ’s are required to comply with the International Sustainability Foundation Guidelines,” the company explained in a release last week.