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Ahold Ups Sustainable Seafood Role

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We’re heartened to see Ahold USA chain Stop & Shop dive deeper into its ongoing sustainable seafood program by working more closely with the New England Aquarium, which has emerged as one of the leaders in the move to protect fisheries from becoming depleted.

seafood.jpgMost recently the retailer’s seafood buying team and a New England Aquarium shrimp specialist traveled to Indonesia and Thailand to meet with Stop & Shop's shrimp vendor partners to work on environmental improvements in those operations. The collaboration will allow both Stop & Shop and the aquarium to develop a list of best practices for vendors.

If you’re going to tell someone how to do something, and set standards for them, then the only right way to get that done is to go out there and work on the issue, bringing plenty of ideas (and expert help is good, too).

"We realized that we needed to better understand where we stand with our full seafood effort in order to make more of a positive impact," Tracy Taylor, Stop & Shop’s senior seafood buyer, said in a company statement. "We want to continue to offer the variety of seafood choices that our customers want to purchase but in order to do that, we need to work with our vendor partners in the seafood industry to encourage sustainable fishing and aquaculture practices.”

The initiative is part of a larger program launched by Stop & Shop and since adopted by other Ahold subsidiaries like Giant of Landover. A 10-point policy dictates how seafood is purchased and sold, based on social, ecological, and economic considerations.

As a result of the program, Stop & Shop no longer sells Chilean sea bass, orange roughy. Pacific long-line-caught cod, farmed Arctic char, and farmed tilapia are promoted.

Greenpeace recently honored parent company Ahold for commitment to sustainable seafood acquisition and merchandising. The company actually came in second (behind Wegmans, but ahead of Whole Foods).

You see, this isn’t about competition or one-upping the competition. This is about making sure that your company can keep selling seafood for years to come. Slightly self-serving, but the benefits are generous to all. In a place like New England, where Stop & Shop operates close to 400 stores, seafood isn’t just dinner. It’s a way of life and an integral part of many family traditions.

PS -- Greenpeace is still going after Trader Joe's — or, Traitor Joe's — for its indiscriminate seafood selling practices. Maybe TJ's should read up on sustainability on this new website that launched this week.

(Photo credit: Finizio)

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