Pacific Seafood's Sustainable Fish Story
Far from being merely a way to sell seafood or to differentiate themselves from the competition, sustainability is a way of life for suppliers such as Clackamas, Ore.-based Pacific Seafood.
“Sustainability is not new to us,” affirms Tyson Yeck, the company’s director of sales, North America. “It has been part of our corporate culture from the beginning. We recognized early on that we needed to protect and preserve our resources to ensure their availability for future generations. That is why we made the decision to expand beyond wild-caught species to include sustainable farming in aquaculture. Our business model is supported by best practices that ensure sustainable resources, environments and habitats. It is an ongoing process that will be continuously improved, because we know the future of our fisheries is the future of our business.”
To that end, Pacific Seafood’s goal is for all of the seafood it provides “to be sourced from a sustainable farm or fishery, and be supported by a fully traceable supply chain,” notes Yeck. “By participating in Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP), Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch and Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) programs for certification, we are on our way to meeting that goal. These efforts remain very transparent to our customers and are increasingly important to our consumers.”
The company currently offers 34 MSC-certified species, 20 MSC certified sustainable facilities and a BAP-certified steelhead farm. Additionally, it recently became the first and only company to offer BAP Four-Star oysters, according to Yeck, who notes that “we are seeing an incredible response from retailers looking to stock the product.”
Sustainability is no flash in the pan for grocers and shoppers, either, he maintains. “We are seeing an increased desire for sustainable products from our retailers, both as a direct response to consumer demand, and because they, too, want to ensure seafood for the future,” says Yeck. “In our experience, consumers seek out sustainable seafood, as they view it as synonymous with healthier and tastier, and feel good knowing their purchases don’t have a negative impact on the environment.”
Naturally, this focus on sustainability goes well beyond Pacific Seafood.
“Now more than ever, our industry has to collectively work together to focus on specific fisheries and drive global change,” notes Casey Marion, director of sustainability initiatives and quality management systems at Jacksonville, Fla.-based Beaver Street Fisheries. “We’re very proud of the work that is being accomplished in the industry, but are most proud of the work being done around our Bahamas lobster fishery working towards MSC certification, and the work being done around the Thailand shrimp industry to ensure a controlled supply chain.”