GRAND RAPIDS —  Meijer Inc., the Grand Rapids-based retailer, has announced the launch of a comprehensive seafood sustainability initiative, which will ensure all Meijer seafood suppliers follow specific sustainability guidelines for both farmed and wild-caught seafood.

“Meijer has a great track record of working with responsible seafood suppliers,” said Meijer Inc. co-chairman and CEO Hank Meijer said. “As we grow, the launch of this seafood sustainability initiative is simply the next step to ensuring we continue to provide our customers with seafood farmed and caught in the most responsible and sustainable way.”

Meijer offers a full range of options to the millions of seafood customers its serves each year. A wide range of fresh seafood, both farmed and wild caught, is available at Meijer stores and those products are always clearly labeled with country of origin.

As is true industry wide, the majority of the seafood Meijer sells comes from the aquaculture industry. Meijer has partnered with the Global Aquaculture Alliance to help the company maintain its high standards for farmed seafood by ensuring its seafood suppliers operate in the most beneficial way for the industry and the environment. This commitment to sustainable aquaculture means Meijer will continue to work with the GAA as it develops and refines its seafood sustainability program, while also helping its suppliers achieve sustainable aquaculture programs through a strict adherence to Best Aquaculture Practicesards for the entire aquaculture supply chain — farms, hatcheries, processing plants and feed mills — that assure healthful foods produced through environmentally and socially responsible means.

As Meijer began developing its seafood sustainability program, it confirmed the majority of its seafood suppliers were already achieving high levels of certification relative to the BAP standards. With assistance from the GAA, Meijer has been able to help many of its suppliers increase their certification to even higher levels, while finding alternate suppliers to replace those who could not meet Meijer standards.

Meanwhile, Meijer also sells several varieties of wild caught seafood. Meijer joined forces with the international nonprofit organization, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, to work closely with seafood suppliers and producers in the development of Fishery and Aquaculture Improvement Partnerships. These partnerships focus on building consensus around specific improvements in policies, marine conservation measures, fishing, and fish-farming practices.

Meijer is working with the SFP to help identify and manage the impact its business has on seafood stocks and the environment. Over the past year, SFP has conducted a comprehensive seafood supply chain analysis. All of the seafood suppliers utilized by Meijer were contacted by SFP and asked to provide detailed information about where they source their wild capture seafood, as well as the method of harvest.

During the next year, Meijer will work closely with the SFP as they assist the retailer with the ongoing development of our sustainable seafood policy and continued seafood supply chain analysis. As Meijer evaluates its seafood suppliers, it will work with SFP to determine how to best engage its suppliers to encourage Fishery and Aquaculture Improvement Projects.

“As Meijer continues to refine its seafood sustainability program, we have internally pledged to only work with seafood suppliers that share our commitment toward seafood sustainability and have a genuine interest in being involved in the solution,” Meijer Chief Operations Officer J.K. Symancyk said. “We expect our seafood suppliers to provide open communication and commit to full transparency as we work toward achieving the highest levels of seafood sustainability.”

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