Stop & Shop, New England Aquarium Expand Sustainable Seafood Initiative

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Stop & Shop, New England Aquarium Expand Sustainable Seafood Initiative

The Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. is ramping up its activities in regard to sustainable seafood, in partnership with the New England Aquarium, by moving forward with efforts to ensure that shoppers have better access to such products from seafood farms, hatcheries and processing plants that adhere to a program of environmental improvement and social consciousness.

Members of the Stop & Shop seafood-buying team and a New England Aquarium shrimp specialist recently went Indonesia and Thailand to meet with shrimp vendor partners to further collaborate and work on environmental improvements. Such trips enable Stop & Shop and the New England Aquarium to pinpoint best practices at individual businesses and begin to apply these practices to all vendors.

“We realized that we needed to better understand where we stand with our full seafood effort in order to make more of a positive impact,” noted Stop and Shop senior seafood buyer Tracy Taylor. “We want to continue to offer the variety of seafood choices that our customers want to purchase, but in order to do that, we need to work with our vendor partners in the seafood industry to encourage sustainable fishing and aquaculture practices. The New England Aquarium has become an effective ally in helping us achieve those goals by working with us and the industry to establish benchmarks and best practices going forward.”

As part of its nearly decade-long commitment to providing sustainable seafood, the Ahold division developed a 10-point policy governing seafood purchasing and sales, based on social, ecological and economic considerations. Stop & Shop also employs tools on its intranet to educate sales associates about catching and farming techniques that are less damaging to environmental resources, so that they can, in turn, educate customers.

“Stop & Shop no longer sells Chilean sea bass, orange roughy or any shark species, because of the environmental concerns surrounding these fisheries,” said Taylor. Instead, the chain actively promotes such species as “Pacific long-line-caught cod, farmed Arctic char, and farmed tilapia from … well-managed fisheries and farms.”

“This initiative is an important tool for ocean conservation,” added Lydia Bergen, director of conservation at the New England Aquarium in Boston. “Changes in purchasing habits such as Stop & Shop has demonstrated will make a difference in the health of ocean ecosystems.”

Quincy, Mass.-based Stop & Shop employs over 59,000 associates and operates stores in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, New York and New Jersey.