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Responsible Choice Seafood

Why choose responsible seafood?

Certain types of seafood are overfished and/or are harvested in a manner that causes undue stress to the environment or other marine life. Our commitment to protect ocean resources is an integral part of our sustainability mission to do business in a manner that promotes the well-being of our customers, employees, communities, and the global environment.

When you purchase seafood that is responsibly farmed or harvested you are supporting best practices that will help to ensure a healthy supply of seafood for generations to come.

Low Mercury & Responsibly Harvested Seafood ListFebruary 2016

  • Catfish farmed USA
  • Clams wild USA & farmed worldwide
  • Crab, King wild USA
  • Mussels farmed worldwide
  • Oysters farmed worldwide
  • Oysters, Eastern wild USA Gulf of Mexico & Canada
  • Pollock, Alaska wild USA
  • Salmon wild USA Pacific
  • Scallops wild USA & farmed worldwide
  • Smelt wild Lakes Superior, Michigan & Erie
  • Squid wild USA
  • Trout, Rainbow farmed USA

*These species contain the daily minimum of Omega-3 fatty acids per 3.5 oz serving.

For more information visit fishwise.org and edf.org/seafood

These fish are safe for ages 4 and up to eat at least 4 oz. per week, based on EPA standards and EDF compiled mercury testing data, and are either Best Choices or Good Alternatives according to Seafood Watch. Fish not on this list may be:

  • Inadequately tested
  • Irresponsibly harvested
  • Too high in mercury

The actual fish for sale has not been tested.

This information is provided through a collaborative effort between FishWise and Environmental Defense Fund. fishwise.org | edf.org/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
Hy-Vee’s intent is 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. In 2011, Hy-Vee ambitiously committed to sourcing our fresh and frozen seafood from environmentally responsible sources and to improve the traceability of our seafood by the end of 2015. We are proud to announce that in December 2015, we source 100% of our fresh and private label frozen seafood from responsible sources.

View the Responsible Sourcing Commitment press release.

100% responsible choice

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 nonprofit organizations. You can do your part to support healthy oceans by purchasing Hy-Vee's Responsible Choice seafood.

Responsible Choice

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Hy-Vee's fresh and private label frozen seafood is 100% responsibly sourced

As of December 2015, 100% of Hy-Vee’s fresh and private label frozen seafood met the goal of being responsibly sourced. This is a 38% increase from January 2014. In two short years, we committed to our goal and succeeded in obtaining only responsibly sourced seafood.

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.

Salmon: All of Hy-Vee’s fresh and private label farmed salmon is responsibly sourced and is Seafood Watch Green or Yellow rated. We also offer Green-rated wild Alaskan salmon.

Shrimp: By engaging in certification strengthening and encouraging shrimp farmers to improve, we were able to source 100% of our fresh and private label frozen farmed shrimp from responsible sources.

King Crab: In 2012, Hy-Vee transitioned sourcing to 100% Alaskan king crab and started the highly successful annual Alaskan king crab leg sales promotion.

Yellowfin Tuna: Hy-Vee’s transition to handline fisheries and MSC-certified fisheries for imported yellowfin tuna resulted in 100% responsibly sourcing of Hy-Vee’s fresh and private label tuna.

When you purchase Hy-Vee seafood, you are supporting best practices that will help to ensure a healthy supply of seafood for generations to come.

Visit our Seafoodies Blog for recipes and more information about seafood.

hy-vee select canned tuna: a sustainable and healthy choice

Canned tuna is one of the top three most consumed seafood products in the United States. In fact, each American ate an average of 2.4 pounds of canned tuna in 2012. Considering that tuna is a rich source of heart-healthy omega-3s, niacin and vitamins, it’s not surprising that canned tuna is in such high demand. However, its popularity has also led to the decline of many tuna stocks in the world’s oceans. Some fishing methods used for tuna can also have negative impacts on other species in the ocean, such as sea turtles, sharks and seabirds. Given these concerns, Hy-Vee recently unveiled two new Responsible Choice canned tuna products.

Hy-Vee Select Solid Light Tuna skipjack is caught from fisheries using pole-and-line catch methods. This traditional type of tuna fishing is highly selective, catching one fish at a time and producing very little bycatch.

Hy-Vee Select Solid White Albacore Tuna is caught using pole-and-troll gear, which are considered to be among the most selective and ocean-friendly methods for catching tuna. Pole-and-troll caught albacore also targets younger tuna that have lower levels of mercury than older fish caught on longlines. Because of its environmental and health benefits, albacore from pole-and-troll fisheries is rated as a Super Green source of seafood by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program.

seafood traceability & transparency

Hy-Vee collects in-depth information about product sourcing from our suppliers. This allows Hy-Vee to have traceability conversations with suppliers and their supply chains to improve transparency. FishWise reviews the data and conducts traceability exercises to ensure accuracy. Hy-Vee’s seafood suppliers have also been notified of our commitment to sustainability and traceability, and the importance of ensuring that seafood is harvested in compliance with management plans and all applicable regulations, including fair labor practices.

2015 Greenpeace Report

Greenpeace released its 2015 Carting Away the Oceans (CATO) report in July, ranking Hy-Vee at third out of the 25 largest supermarket chains in the United States. Since 2008, Greenpeace has evaluated and ranked supermarkets in the CATO report based on their efforts to protect both the oceans and seafood industry workers.

Hy-Vee moved up to the top three this year, finishing in the “good” category and scoring above a 7 out of 10 for the first time. Hy-Vee was evaluated on the sustainability of its seafood in four key areas: policy, initiatives, labeling and transparency, and Red List inventory. This is only the second year Hy-Vee has been evaluated for the report.

Greenpeace writes: “After its 'Carting Away the Oceans' debut last year, Hy-Vee doubled down on its strong performance, coming in third place overall and entering the good category for the first time. Hy-Vee means business about sustainable seafood. … Hy-Vee dropped Chilean sea bass, issued a strong public statement against GMO seafood, is on track to hit its 2015 sustainability goals and twice weighed in at key moments to address Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing in the industry by sending letters to Congress.”

Conservation Initiatives

Since Hy-Vee embarked on the mission to source responsible seafood, new issues and unanticipated challenges have arisen, and Hy-Vee has addressed them head on. Complex challenges remain for Hy-Vee and for the seafood industry as a whole.

Being an industry leader in sustainable seafood means extending our work beyond our direct purchasing and engaging with the larger issues at hand.

Legislation to address illegal fishing and human trafficking
In support of legal and traceable seafood in the United States, Hy-Vee sent letters to representatives in the House and Senate urging them to pass legislation that addresses illegal fishing and cracks down on human trafficking. The Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing Act of 2015 was signed into law on Nov. 5, 2015. This is an important step toward ensuring our U.S. seafood marketplace is composed of safe, legal and responsible seafood and that illegal fishing is reduced in the waters around the world.

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 consider the ecological impact of deep-sea canyon habitats.

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 sea bass.’

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 sea bass) 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’s policy is to sell seafood that is safe for consumption and harvested or raised in a responsible manner. Hy-Vee will not purchase or sell genetically modified or genetically engineered seafood. We are confident this is the best decision for our customers as well as the environment.

Genetically modified and genetically engineered seafood products are inconsistent with Hy-Vee’s Seafood Procurement Policy, which can be found here. Our commitment to not sell genetically engineered seafood is highlighted on the Friends of the Earth pledge website at www.foe.org/gefreeseafood.

Fishery Improvement Projects
A fishery improvement project (FIP) is a multi-stakeholder effort to improve a particular aspect of a fishery. FIPs are an important component of Hy-Vee's Seafood Procurement Policy as they provide a direct pathway for Hy-Vee to encourage improvements on the water — be that through strengthening fisheries management policies or by providing incentives for fishers to reduce the environmental impacts of their fishing gear. To promote healthy oceans and ensure long-term seafood supplies, Hy-Vee is actively encouraging many of its seafood suppliers to participate in FIPs.

Fair Trade Certified™
Hy-Vee believes that in order to take better care of our oceans and fish species, we also have to take care of fishermen and their communities. We are working toward 100% Fair Trade Certified™ tuna in all of our fresh seafood cases, Market Grilles and Asian departments.

We are partnering with Fair Trade USA, a nonprofit organization and the leading certifier of Fair Trade products in North America. Through our partnership, we’re working to build more resilient livelihoods in coastal communities, improved working and living conditions, increased supply and demand for responsibly sourced seafood, and enhanced environmental stewardship and ecosystem protection.

The Fair Trade Certified™ label is a mechanism to reward best-in-class seafood companies for their commitment to sourcing ethical seafood, and we’re proud to be part of it.

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 (USDC) 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.

What is FishWise?

To help us achieve our goals of sourcing sustainable seafood, we partnered with FishWise, an environmental nonprofit organization that promotes the health and recovery of ocean ecosystems through environmentally and socially 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

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