At a time when consumers are more socially conscious than ever and are choosing establishments that offer ethically sourced products, how can operators be confident that they are serving seafood that lives up to its sustainable promise?
The best indicator of a sustainable product is that it’s been certified by a third-party, reputable organization. The most universally recognized include Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) for wild seafood and Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) for farmed seafood.
MSC-certified seafood must come from fisheries that are independently assessed by scientists and marine experts to ensure they meet MSC’s standards for environmentally sustainable fishing management practices. This ensures fish stocks and habitats are healthy, and fishing community livelihoods are secure.
BAP certification standards address environmental and social responsibility, animal welfare, food safety and traceability, and encompass the entire product chain: farms, processing plants, hatcheries and feed mills.
Other notable certifications include ones from Monterey Bay Seafood Watch and FishChoice.
Can it be traced?
A reputable seafood purveyor will be able to trace the seafood delivered to a restaurant along all parts of the supply chain, including all the way back to the boat it was caught on, to prove that it is from a sustainable fishery or farm. Operators should be sure to ask suppliers what their traceability practices are at each point in the supply chain so they have confidence in the sustainability of the product being served to guests.
A company that is truly dedicated to sustainable seafood will be continually working toward making seafood more sustainable. Ask purveyors if they have partnered with groups like NOAA, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Ecology, Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative, National Aquaculture Alliance, or their state and regional commissions. Find out what efforts they are involved in to ensure healthy, well-stocked, fisheries for the future.
Ask for a visit
Ask to visit the facilities where seafood is processed. Any reputable company would be happy to show the boats offloading seafood and the processing methods, as well as give a walkthrough of their traceability systems so customers can be confident in the transparency behind sustainable seafood products. In addition, ask to visit any aquaculture facilities to see that seafood is being raised sustainably and humanely.
Founded more than 75 years ago, Pacific Seafood’s goal is to bring the freshest, highest-quality, most sustainable seafood to our customers. Today, our commitment remains stronger than ever by offering 34 MSC-certified species and operating 20 MSC certified sustainable facilities, as well as operating our BAP-certified steelhead farm and BAP-certified oyster farms. In fact, Pacific Seafood is the first and only company in the world to offer BAP-certified four-star oysters, the most sustainable oyster available.
Our unique supply chain capabilities allow us to leverage our expertise in every aspect of the business, including harvesting/fishing, processing, distribution and aquaculture. Our proprietary traceability technology tracks our seafood through every step of the process so our customers can be confident in the sustainable products they receive.
Pacific Seafood works collaboratively with the NOAA Fisheries Science Centers, the Regional Fishery Councils, states and others to ensure our fisheries are sustainable long into the future. We also remain active in the revitalization of the West Coast Groundfish Fishery and are participants in efforts to get the California pink shrimp fishery certified by MSC.
We invite you to learn more about our commitment to sustainability by reading our Corporate Social Responsibility report here.