BJ’s Seafood Sustainability Partnership Overview
At BJ’s we understand that the phrase “Seafood Sustainability” has come to be a bit of a vague term, with that in mind we wanted to define how we look at Sustainability as part of our “BJ’s Seafood Partnership.”
We are creating a constantly evolving program that recognizes the roles that our partnership has with our: environment, buyers, suppliers, and Members. Our goal is to continue to provide safe, quality seafood at an excellent value for years to come without compromise. We recognize that as a large volume buyer of seafood products, we are in a unique position to help protect our oceans and waterways and the seafood it provides us. We want to use the knowledge and technology of all of our partners to make sure that we choose to offer items that have the smallest impact on the long-term health of our water’s ecosystems.
To help us reach our goals, we have committed to a strategy that promotes the long-term sustainability of seafood supplies by improving fisheries and fish farms. In developing this strategy, BJ’s is working with the non-profit organization, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) www.sustainablefish.org. They are helping us to evaluate our products and suppliers against the newest science and best industry practices to engage in constant improvement.
In partnership with our suppliers, our goal is to help ensure they are doing what is right for the environment, and if necessary help them get on the correct path. If, however, our suppliers are unable to make improvements after a reasonable timeline, we will seek out new suppliers.
We will also be using fisheries that create products that adhere to strong standards such as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) www.msc.org for wild captured seafood and Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) www.gaalliance.org for aquaculture (farmed) seafood. We are also in the process of complete transparency in the traceability of our seafood products to their source, while continuing to source from fisheries and fish farms that reduce the impact of fishing on the other marine life and habitats.
All of this will allow us to meet our goal of not offering any fresh or frozen seafood species by 2014 that does not meet our criteria (or as fast as science and technology will get us there).
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD
Q. Why is BJ’s working on a Sustainable Seafood Partnership?
A. Because it is the right thing to do for everyone involved. As a large volume buyer of seafood, we can help create practices that prevent fish stock collapses (that helps the environment and our suppliers) as well as ensuring seafood is available for a long time to come (which will also help our Members ensure their amazing recipes live on).
Q. Does this only apply to fresh fish?
A. No. BJ’s is committed to partnering with all our seafood partners from fresh fish to frozen value-added fish (i.e., fish sticks, breaded/seasoned fillets, etc.) to make sure that they are sourcing according to our guidelines.
Q. Will Sustainable Seafood Cost More?
A. BJ’s is committed to offering the best value on our seafood. The process of ensuring seafood is properly caught and processed does not necessarily come with added cost.
Q. How will you monitor fisheries/suppliers?
A. By working with our partner, the third party non-profit organization, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) www.sustainablefish.org. They will continue to survey all of the source fisheries and farms to determine what is sustainable and what can be improved. In addition, we will work with the Marine Stewardship to accredit our wild caught products, and Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) for our farm-raised seafood. Lastly, where possible our Sustainability Team will personally visit our partners to see first-hand the processes and improvements being made.
Q. What are you looking for in “wild caught” seafood?
A. To be sustainable, we expect our fisheries/suppliers to only provide fish for BJ’s that: take reasonable precautions to ensure seafood is not illegally caught, adhere to catch quotas (to make sure the species is not overfished), reduce or prevent by-catch of non-targeted species (i.e., turtles, dolphins, etc.) and take steps to monitor and reduce habitat damage (i.e., destruction of coral or seabed floor).
Q. What are you looking for in “farmed” fish (aquaculture)?
A. We will work to only buy from suppliers who demonstrate long-term sustainability practices including limiting use of chemicals and reducing overstocking/crowding. We will also make sure that all of our facilities have practices in place to reduce escapes to limit any impact on the wild seafood.
Q. Why don’t you have the MSC Label or color-coded labels on your products?
A. BJ’s is working to ensure all of our seafood is sustainable. At this time, there is not one cohesive label or system of ranking seafood. To prevent confusion, we are holding all seafood to the same guidelines regardless of species, method caught or labels. If a clear and concise system of labeling seafood comes out and meets our guidelines, we will review. In the meantime, we will offer as much information to our Members as we can through transparency so that they can make the best choices for themselves.
Q. Is shelf-stable fish (i.e., tuna, salmon, etc.) also covered under this partnership?
A. Yes. All shelf-stable tuna is required to comply with the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) guidelines. All other shelf-stable fish are required to meet BJ's specific guidelines.