Springfield, Mass.-based Big Y is the latest retailer to adopt the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) chain of custody certification for its fresh seafood counters. The distinctive blue MSC ecolabel now appears in Big Y fresh cases to help customers identify MSC certified wild caught seafood.
“At Big Y we have always taken a great deal of pride in offering the best seafood products available with many of them from local suppliers here in New England,” said Michael D’Amour, Big Y’s VP of sales and merchandising. “We’re very excited to offer a number of items that are certified sustainable so that our customers know that our seafood is not only better for us, but also better for the environment," added D’Amour, noting the privately held grocer’s large seafood departments and fresh seafood products that includes fish and chips made fresh daily in the tradition that recognizes New England’s ties to fishing and the sea.
To obtain MSC’s chain of custody (CoC) certification, a grocery retailer must pass an independent, third-party audit that is conducted by an accredited certifier, and it must undergo annual surveillance audits to demonstrate it continues to meet the standard. The CoC standard focuses on having an internal traceability system and reliable operational systems in place to ensure that MSC certified seafood is kept separate from non-certified seafood. Worldwide, more than 1,800 companies have obtained Chain of Custody certification.
Kerry Coughlin, MSC regional director, Americas, said Big Y’s commitment to the program “will enable its customers to make choices that directly recognize and reward sustainable fishing practices and we welcome Big Y into the MSC program. Tens of thousands of Big Y employees and customers can now play a direct role in helping to preserve seafood supplies and livelihoods for future generations.”
Big Y sources almost all of its fresh seafood from North Coast Seafood and initially Big Y will offer customers MSC certified wild salmon, cod, halibut and haddock.
“The Big Y and North Coast families’ share three generations of family ownership and are dedicated to preserving seafood for our future generations,” said Norm Stavis, president of North Coast, adding that together with MSC, “We have worked tirelessly with independent fisherman, government agencies, and responsible fishery managers to achieve our collective vision for sustainable fisheries. Supporting this certification will ensure the future of sustainable fisheries and provide Big Y customers with sustainable, safe, local and wholesome seafood.”
Celebrating its 75th anniversary this year as a family owned American business, Springfield, Mass.-based Big Y operates 61 stores throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts with over 10,000 employees.