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Supermarket Introduces Sustainable Seafood Sourcing

by the Fish Site Editor
16 July 2010, at 1:00am

US - Delhaize America has announced a new sustainable seafood sourcing programme.

Delhaize America has announced its banners – Hannaford, Sweetbay, Bottom Dollar Food, and Food Lion family of banners, including Food Lion, Bloom, Harveys and Reid's – will operate under a new sustainable seafood sourcing programme. The supermarkets will move to selling seafood from sources that are managed to sustain the availability of seafood for current and future generations.

The supermarkets' new seafood policy requires suppliers to verify that seafood is coming from sources managed for sustainability and encourages sourcing locally. The requirement applies to all seafood in the stores, including fresh, frozen and packaged fish and shellfish. All suppliers are required to be compliant with the programme by 31 March 2011.

George Parmenter, a Corporate Responsibility manager for Delhaize America, commented: "We want our shoppers to have confidence that seafood they buy from us is from fisheries that are viable and maintained for the future. The health of fisheries is important to us as a retailer, both for the long-term product supply and for reducing the environmental impacts of products we sell. Our company is committed to operating responsibly, and our new program reinforces this commitment."

The new sustainable seafood sourcing program was developed in close partnership with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI), a non-profit marine science center. The comprehensive sustainable seafood policy requires all suppliers demonstrate that their seafood products come from well-managed fisheries. The fisheries, which could also be certified under a variety of sustainable certifications (such as the Marine Stewardship Council), must demonstrate a detailed management plan which includes the following components:

  • establishing plans to rebuild stock sizes within a specific time-frame if stock size levels are below target levels
  • providing sufficient data to determine appropriate harvest levels or practices.
  • implementing monitoring and compliance measures to ensure harvest levels are maintained within acceptable limits.
  • maintaining enforcement policies to ensure harvesters follow regulations, and to prevent illegal practices and unreported harvest.

In the case of farm-raised seafood, suppliers must be certified by the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP), a programme of the Global Aquaculture Alliance. BAP certification ensures that the production of the product does not negatively impact communities, workers, the environment, or human health through inappropriate use of chemicals or drugs.

Another core component of the policy is the requirement that all seafood be fully traceable to the port of landing or farm. As a result, all Delhaize America supermarkets will have immediate access to information about where the product was harvested, thus enabling the company to confirm claims around sustainable harvest. The company has also built rewards into the system for seafood businesses that adopt sustainable harvesting practices, such as strategies to minimize accidental catch of fish not intended for market or to prevent damage to marine habitats. Delhaize America's ongoing Quality Assurance processes throughout the Delhaize America supply chain are part of the sustainable seafood sourcing programs.

As the first step in implementing the policy, all Delhaize America banners are collecting data from all seafood suppliers and are working with GMRI to evaluate that information. By 31 March 2011, all seafood products sold in Delhaize America's 1,600 stores, including Hannaford, Sweetbay, Food Lion family of banners and Bottom Dollar Food, must demonstrate compliance with the policy or show a clear action plan to reach compliance.

Mr Parmenter added: "The new policy encourages ongoing improvement in sustainability practices and promotes local fisheries. Our customers prefer local seafood, and we believe buying local provides fresh food, supports our local economies, and reduces environmental impacts from transporting seafood from longer distances. Through this work, we will ensure that the local seafood we've always sourced for customers will be healthy for the local environment and around for future generations to enjoy."

the Fish Site Editor