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Hy-Vee Partners With Suppliers to Fight Illegal Fishing

Origin of Seafood Products Traced to Support Legal and Socially Responsible Sourcing


December 4, 2018

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (Dec. 3, 2018) – As part of its Due Diligence Plans to improve traceability and social responsibility within its seafood supply chains, Hy-Vee, Inc. recently partnered with two of its seafood suppliers and FishWise to trace products from fishing vessel to supermarket. Hy-Vee and the companies within its supply chains worked together to demonstrate that best practices were in place for specific seafood products they carry. This collaborative effort is the latest example of how Hy-Vee participates in industry and NGO-led initiatives to address illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

One of the suppliers involved in this endeavor, Orca Bay Foods, LLC., sells a variety of seafood products to Hy-Vee including mahi-mahi. Hy-Vee, Orca Bay and FishWise worked together to take an in-depth look at a mahi-mahi product to ensure that both its harvest and journey to Hy-Vee’s shelves were in compliance with Hy-Vee’s Seafood Procurement Policy.

Both Hy-Vee and Orca Bay recognize that collecting information about where a product comes from is an important part of verifying that a product is legal and sustainable. Another crucial step is ensuring that the companies selling the product are implementing robust company policies to mitigate risks of illegal seafood entering their supply chains. Orca Bay works toward this goal by preferentially sourcing mahi-mahi from a fishery improvement project (FIP) and supporting the FIP in reaching its goals for improved sustainability and traceability. By collaborating with Hy-Vee and FishWise on this effort, Orca Bay took the extra step toward continuous improvement of its company’s sustainability policies.

“We’re incredibly pleased with Orca Bay’s collaboration on this project and efforts to strengthen the legal fishing practices for this mahi-mahi product,” said Nate Stewart, Hy-Vee’s executive vice president of perishables. “Hy-Vee is dedicated to being a leader in sustainability, and we hope to set an example with this effort that other companies will follow.”

Hy-Vee recognizes the importance of ensuring that their business and the ones they work with are committed to using sustainable and legal practices to bring seafood to their consumers. While tackling an issue such as illegal fishing can seem daunting, every effort counts and progress can be accelerated through collaboration.

“It’s exciting to see a Midwest-based store like Hy-Vee make the effort to take a deep look into the origin of their seafood products,” said Traci Linder, senior project manager at FishWise. “This sends a message to the seafood industry that companies of any size, from the vessel owner to the retailer, can identify areas for improvement and work with business partners to achieve their goals. Proactive and collaborative efforts like these have benefits that cascade beyond Hy-Vee and its customers, ultimately helping to improve the health of our oceans.”


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