Responsible Choice Seafood
What is Sustainable Seafood?
Sustainable seafood comes from sources, whether fished or farmed, that can maintain or increase production in the long-term without jeopardizing the structure or function of affected ecosystems.
Hy-Vee’s Seafood Procurement Policy
It is Hy-Vee’s intent to sell high-quality seafood that not only is safe for consumption but also is harvested or raised in a manner that provides for its long-term viability (sustainability) while minimizing damage to the environment and other sea life. View our Seafood Procurement Policy.
Responsible Sourcing Commitment
In order to protect marine resources and ensure future seafood supplies, Hy-Vee has committed to selling responsibly sourced fresh and frozen seafood that is rated as a Green ‘Best Choice’ or a Yellow ‘Good Alternative’ by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program, certified to an environmental standard equivalent to these ratings, or sourced from credible, time-bound improvement projects. View the Responsible Sourcing Commitment press release.
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Proud to Offer Responsible Choices
Seafood products bearing the "Responsible Choice" symbol meet Hy-Vee’s policy and are caught or farmed in a responsible manner. Specifically, these options are rated as either Green ‘Best Choices’ or Yellow ‘Good Alternatives’ by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program, or are certified to an environmental standard benchmarked to at least these ratings.
How is Sustainability Assessed?
To make sustainable seafood recommendations, we draw from a variety of science-based sources such as peer-reviewed research, third party certifications, and color rankings generated by non-profit organizations. You can do your part to support healthy oceans by purchasing Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice seafood.
Visit our Seafoodies blog for recipes and more information about seafood.
Impacts on Stock: Resilience to fishing pressure and population trends are reviewed to determine the level of impact on the target species’ stocks
Impacts on Other Species: The unintentional catch of non-target species like birds, turtles, dolphins, and other fish is considered along with these species’ population trends
Habitat and Ecosystem Impacts: Level of damage caused to the seafloor and broader ecosystem by the fishing method used
Management: Effectiveness of governance at ensuring a fishery’s viability
Data: Quality and relevance of available data
Pollution, Habitat Impacts & Chemical Use: Handling farm wastes to prevent pollution, minimizing damage to surrounding habitats during farm construction, and minimizing the use of chemicals
Feed: Consumption of resources, such as wild fish and other protein, in feeds for the production of farmed fish
Escapes and Disease Transfer: Risk of fish escaping from farms and risk of diseases from farmed fish spreading to wild stocks, negatively impacting wild ecosystems
Source of Eggs/Larvae: Independence of eggs/larvae (seedstock) from wild fish stocks
Protection for the Bering Sea Canyons
The Bering Sea is an area of exceptional productivity, supporting an abundance of fishes, seabirds and marine mammals. Submarine canyons in the Bering Sea are home to deep-sea corals and sponges that provide important habitat for fish and other marine life. Hy-Vee is encouraging efforts to develop a Fishery Ecosystem Plan for the Bering Sea that includes the protection of the unique deep-sea habitats of the Zhemchung and Pribilof canyons.
Pledge to Protect the Ross Sea
The Ross Sea in Antarctica is the least altered marine ecosystem on Earth, supporting exceptional abundances of organisms such as krill, penguins, fishes, and marine mammals. Known as the ‘Last Ocean’, this prolific ecosystem was essentially untouched by humans until 1996, when commercial fishing began for the Antarctic toothfish, more commonly known as ‘Chilean seabass.’
In support of the creation of a marine protected area in one of the world's most isolated and pristine marine ecosystems, Hy-Vee has pledged not to buy Antarctic toothfish (also known as Chilean seabass) from the Ross Sea. Serving as wildlife parks in the ocean, marine protected areas are designated zones in the ocean where fishing activities are restricted or prohibited.
Pledge for GE-Free Seafood
Hy-Vee has no plans to purchase or carry genetically modified or genetically engineered seafood. Based on the information currently available to us, it appears these products would be inconsistent with our Seafood Procurement Policy.
Seafood Traceability & Transparency
Hy-Vee is working to improve transparency in seafood supply chains by ensuring that our products are traceable back to the point of harvest, be that a fishery or farming operation. To this end, Hy-Vee regularly collects information about the chain of custody and sustainability of seafood products from our suppliers. Hy-Vee’s seafood vendors have also been notified of our commitment to sustainability, traceability, and the importance of ensuring that seafood is harvested in compliance with management plans and all applicable regulations.
The goals of our Seafood Procurement Policy are to:
- Protect our customers
- Protect the environment
- Provide the best quality and selection of seafood
To achieve our goals and ensure consistency with our policy Hy-Vee will:
- Collaborate with FishWise, a California-based non- profit that works with companies throughout the seafood supply chain to support conservation through environmentally responsible business practices.
- Work with our employees, suppliers, regulatory agencies, and other stakeholders to identify a broad selection of high quality, safe and sustainable seafood.
- Continue to educate our buyers and employees about seafood quality, safety and sustainability.
- Do business with only those suppliers whose practices are consistent with our policy.
- Have our seafood routinely inspected at our distribution facility by a U.S. Department of Commerce (USDC) Lot Inspector.
Hy-Vee is one of the only retailers in the nation with our own USDC Lot Inspector.Several years ago, Hy-Vee became the first retailer in the nation to hire its own U.S. Department of Commerce lot inspector to ensure the quality, safety and integrity of the fresh seafood it buys. The USDC inspector is stationed onsite at the PDI distribution facility in Ankeny, Iowa, where he routinely checks incoming shipments of fresh seafood and rejects those that do not meet Hy-Vee's standards.
Safety, Quality, and Freshness: Our procurement practices are designed to ensure safety, quality, and freshness are of the highest priority.
Legal Compliance: Hy-Vee will never knowingly buy or sell seafood that has been harvested, transported, or otherwise handled in an illegal manner.
Supplier Integrity: We will do business only with suppliers of high ethical standards with a proven commitment to the quality, safety and sustainability of their seafood products.
Quality Information: The concept of seafood sustainability is complex. For this reason, Hy-Vee’s decisions on what constitutes sustainable seafood will be made based on fundamentally sound, high-quality data, science and research from a variety of credible sources.
Education and Communication: Hy-Vee will keep customers, employees, and stakeholders informed about our efforts to improve the sustainability and overall quality of our seafood supply.
Transparency: The traceability of our seafood supply chain will be transparent and readily available to our customers.
Labeling: Our seafood will be labeled with appropriate information to help customers make informed buying decisions. Look for a “Responsible Choice” label to identify seafood products that are responsibly sourced.
Partnership: Hy-Vee will work in partnership with its customers, suppliers, other retailers, and other interested stakeholders to continuously improve the sustainability of the seafood supply chain.
What is FishWise?
FishWise is a non-profit organization that promotes the health and recovery of ocean ecosystems through environmentally responsible business practices.
FishWise helps companies improve the sustainability of their seafood offerings via employee training, sourcing assistance, and point-of-sale information. Their programs allow consumers to make environmentally informed choices when purchasing seafood.
To learn more visit www.fishwise.org
Hy-Vee has added a Responsible Sourcing Commitment to its Seafood Procurement Policy, the latest step in Hy-Vee’s effort to improve the sustainability of its seafood. Read the press release.