FishWise and its members are consistently highlighted in the world's top seafood industry publications as well as mainstream public media outlets. By working with businesses to demonstrate what is not only possible, but also profitable, FishWise is at the forefront of seafood sustainability. Through this leadership, we make headlines and help our partners receive the recognition they deserve.
FishWise, a nonprofit sustainable seafood consultancy, has authored a new white paper on human rights abuses in seafood supply chains.
This paper on human rights abuses follows FishWise's first white paper on seafood traceability. The paper intends to educate seafood businesses and stakeholders on the human rights abuses taking place in seafood supply chains and provide recommendations to improve human and labor rights within the industry.
It is important for companies to focus on social responsibility in supply chains, especially human rights, in order to demonstrate a real commitment to people, planet, and profit. Documentation of human trafficking and forced labor in seafood supply chains has been growing with increasing media attention, nongovernmental organization investigations, and government reports. Discussions of environmental sustainability within the seafood industry are now commonplace, but efforts to improve human rights in the industry are nascent and just beginning to gain the momentum necessary to catalyze real change.
In the last five years, seafood companies have created sustainable seafood sourcing policies, and are now working to meet the commitments within them. Human and labor rights are often not incorporated into these policies for seafood, as the historical focus of such efforts has been on industries such as coffee, minerals, and textiles. The seafood industry is not free of these concerns however, and the time is ripe for companies to expand their policies to address these issues. This is appropriate because environmental sustainability and human rights issues do not operate independently. Vessels and companies operating illegally often commit environmental and social crimes in tandem.
Eliminating human rights abuses in seafood supply chains is not an easy task. Challenges include corruption, exemptions within international standards for fishing vessels, lack of transparency via the use of flags of convenience and transhipment, the globalized nature of the supply chain, lack of enforcement, incomplete traceability, and the prevalence of illegal fishing. Amidst these challenges there are also opportunities. Brand value, shareholder opinion, and corporate social responsibility can benefit from companies addressing this issue in an honest and transparent manner. After improvements have been made, companies can actively promote the associated success stories, such as social and fair trade compliance, engagement in fishery improvements, and support for entrepreneurial ventures in the developing world.
It is hoped that this document will create connections across businesses, organizations, and governments and serve as a call to action to work together to eliminate human rights abuses and illegal products from supply chains. Addressing these issues is the ethical course of action, but also one that will prevent human rights abuses in supply chains from undoing the excellent work to date on the environmental sustainability of seafood.
Parsippany, NJ, October 5, 2012 – Today, Kings Food Markets announced a partnership to develop and implement a sustainable, responsible seafood program with FishWise, a non-profit organization focused on the health and recovery of ocean ecosystems.
"Much of the seafood available today comes at too high of a cost to our environment," said Judy Spires, CEO of Kings Food Markets. "At Kings, we are committed to bringing customers the best ingredients possible, and in this case, that means providing seafood options that are sourced responsibly. We are very excited to offer our shoppers this new program and build upon the variety of high-quality items for which Kings is already known."
Through its new seafood program, Kings has strengthened its commitment to offering customers environmentally friendly seafood by improving sourcing, staff training, and point of sale materials for customers. Seafood sourced through the program will now bear a "Responsible Choice" tag, meaning those products are green or yellow rated according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program. All items bearing the tag come from well-managed sources that minimize the environmental impacts of harvesting or farming, or are otherwise good alternatives to less sustainable options. Kings' seafood staff also went through extensive training to support the new program, meaning customers can feel comfortable asking any questions about the source, quality, and type of seafood in their local Kings stores.
"FishWise applauds the commitment that Kings Food Markets has made to ensure that its customers can purchase seafood responsibly, and with confidence, and we look forward to working together," William Wall, business project manager for FishWise said. "Kings Food Markets has an enduring heritage in the New Jersey region, and its ongoing commitment to affecting positive change in the local community should be commended."
The agreement between Kings Food Markets and FishWise is consistent with the Common Vision for Environmentally Sustainable Seafood. The Common Vision is an ambitious but realistic guide to environmentally responsible seafood for businesses. It was developed by more than fifteen of North America's leading ocean conservation organizations.
FishWise Partner Safeway Announces New Sustainable Sourcing Practice for Tuna
PLEASANTON, Calif. — February 10, 2012 — Safeway Inc. (NYSE: SWY), a recognized leader in embracing sustainable seafood practices, builds on its leadership today by announcing that its Safeway brand skipjack (chunk-light) canned tuna will be responsibly caught using free-school purse-seine methods. The company will transition to the purse-seine method by the end of the year. Free-school tuna is caught by purse-seiners using traditional methods of spotting schools of fish using radar and sonar, while captains employ powerful binoculars to spot birds attracted by schools of tuna.
Joe Ennen, Senior Vice President of Consumer Brands, said the new sourcing policy is an important step in addressing the consumer demand for a more sustainably sourced product without compromising quality.
“We are committed to building a brand portfolio that is innovative and gives consumers what they want. We have always felt that the Safeway brand is the best tasting canned tuna product. Now we’re excited to offer that same superior quality from a source that is more sustainable and eco-friendly,” Ennen said.
Safeway is implementing these new specifications at a time when the tuna fishing industry is finding better ways to address the significant negative ecosystem impacts associated with purse-seine netted tuna fishing, a method that employs fish aggregating devices (FADs). Safeway’s move to eliminate FAD-caught tuna is part of the effort to make its branded tuna across the shelf stable category more responsibly sourced and to also enhance the company’s “Dolphin Safe” tuna commitments made years ago to Earth Island Institute. Safeway is in the process of instituting additional specifications for responsibly sourced albacore tuna caught on longline vessels with improved fishing techniques. Safeway brand “responsibly caught” tuna is the first brand in North America to make this important move.
Greenpeace has greeted Safeway’s announcement with significant excitement. According to Casson Trenor, Senior Markets Campaigner, "Safeway has just galvanized its hold on pole position within the U.S. retail industry in regard to sustainable seafood. Safeway's canned skipjack tuna specifications are progressive, comprehensive, and visionary. They address the dangers of fish-aggregating devices. Greenpeace applauds Safeway for stepping up to the plate and making this powerful and public commitment and looks forward to the company’s forthcoming albacore tuna policy.”
“Sourcing responsibly fished tuna is vital to marine ecosystem health. said Phil Gibson, Safeway’s Group Director of Seafood. “We are pleased to include the canned tuna category in our company’s Comprehensive Sustainable Seafood Policy.”
The specifications will be implemented over the coming year. By establishing this detailed sourcing plan, Safeway will be working with capable suppliers and verification partners who can provide responsibly caught tuna with full supply chain transparency.
“Safeway’s new specifications for canned tuna perfectly complement the work we are already doing together on fresh and frozen seafood. Engaging with existing suppliers to drive improvements over time is emphasized,” noted Matt Owens, Operations Director at FishWise, a California-based NGO specializing in seafood sustainability.
Safeway’s sourcing decision is driven by concerns about over-harvesting of fish and the significant mortality rate of non-target (bycatch) species — such as sea turtles, sharks, and pelagic fish — associated with skipjack fishing using FADs. Fishing tuna without FADs can significantly reduce bycatch levels. However, verifying that a tuna source is not using FADs requires new protocols and building partnerships with stakeholders in ocean ecology. In the future, Safeway will conduct in-depth research towards bringing to market economically viable, bio-regionally supported pole & line sourced tuna fish.
Safeway has now made clear its intention to work with the fishing industry, governments, Regional Fisheries Management Organizations, NGOs, and scientists to improve the management, sustainability and fairness of the fisheries that Safeway continues to source from.
Safeway is an industry leader in environmental sustainability, ethical business practices and effective community outreach. Safeway upholds an operating philosophy that is rooted in corporate social responsibility focused on four key fundamentals: People, Products, Community, and the Planet. These fundamentals are “The Heart of Safeway,” bringing together our passion for food and serving our customers with the rapidly developing needs of our communities and our planet.
About Safeway www.Safeway.com
Safeway Inc. is a Fortune 100 company and one of the largest food and drug retailers in North America, based on sales. The company operates 1,681 stores in the United States and western Canada and had annual sales of $41.1 billion in 2010. The company’s common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SWY.
Notes to Editors:
• A fish-aggregating (or aggregation) device (FAD) is a man-made object used to attract ocean-going pelagic fish such as tuna. They usually consist of buoys or floats tethered to the ocean floor with concrete blocks. Over 300 species of fish gather around FADs. FAD's attract fish for numerous reasons that vary by species. Fish tend to move around FADs in varying orbits, rather than remaining stationary below the buoys. Both recreational and commercial fisheries use FAD
• Safeway Inc. was the North America’s first major grocery retailer to implement sourcing of “Dolphin Safe Tuna” in 1991
• In the fifth edition of the Greenpeace retailer scorecard, which ranks the Top 20 grocery retailers on the sustainability of their seafood practices, Safeway was ranked number one, making it the most sustainable national grocery retailer in the U.S. for seafood. The scorecard was issued June 2011.
• FAD Free fishing minimizes bycatch of non-target and juvenile species.
Target Commits to Selling Only Sustainable and Traceable Seafood by 2015
MINNEAPOLIS (October 13, 2011) – Target Corp. (NYSE:TGT) today announced it is committed to selling only sustainable and traceable seafood in its stores by 2015. This initiative will be achieved through a partnership with FishWise and continued engagement with industry and vendor partners, and will apply to all of Target’s fresh and frozen seafood products.
“When Target eliminated farmed salmon in favor of wild-caught salmon last year, we took the first step in a long-term commitment to improving the sustainability of our seafood assortment,” said Shawn Gensch, vice president, Marketing, who oversees the company’s sustainability programs. “As we continue toward 100 percent sustainable seafood, guests can shop with confidence knowing that Target’s seafood products are both healthy for their family and environmentally responsible.”
Target defines sustainable and traceable seafood as the sourcing of seafood products that are caught or raised in an environmentally sensitive manner and maintain Target’s business needs without jeopardizing the affected ecosystems. For example, Target’s seafood assortment has been transitioning to more sustainable products over the past two years, including the elimination of Chilean sea bass, orange roughy and farmed salmon from all stores. To achieve its plan to source only sustainable seafood by 2015, Target has partnered with FishWise, a nonprofit organization that works with seafood companies to implement environmentally responsible business practices.
“Target has shown itself to be a leader in sustainable seafood,” said Tobias Aguirre, executive director at FishWise. “This new and deeper 2015 commitment should both serve as an example for the rest of the industry and result in real change on the water.”
Over the next few years, Target plans to:
- Continue to engage suppliers to identify and provide the most responsible seafood options for its guests;
- Encourage source fisheries and farms to enter into improvement projects that result in credible certification and verifiable change;
- Continue transitioning Market Pantry and Archer Farms brands to more sustainable seafood products;
- Educate guests about seafood sustainability and encourage them to make informed seafood purchases;
- Continue sourcing seafood products from third-party certified fisheries and farms; and
- Engage with the appropriate government agencies, NGOs, industry groups and certification bodies to trace seafood from the supply chain to its source.
Progress on Target’s sustainable seafood initiatives, along with all of Target’s sustainability commitments, can be followed at Target.com/hereforgood.
A version of this story was run by many major news outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Huffington Post, Business Weekly, and Forbes. The story was viewed over 87,000,000 times, a great indication that the general public is increasingly interested in sustainable seafood, business leadership, and ocean conservation.