Atlantic Capes Fisheries raises bar with BSP certification for its entire supply chain
Based in Fall River, Massachusetts, U.S.A, Atlantic Capes Fisheries has become the first company to achieve Best Seafood Practices (BSP) certification for its supply chain. The company processes more than 20 percent of U.S scallop landings.
BSP is a certification program developed by the Global Seafood Alliance (GSA) to provide assurance that wild seafood products were harvested and processed in ethical and responsible ways. It is also the world’s only third-party certification program that can link certified fisheries to certified vessels, and further to processing plants.
“Atlantic Capes Fisheries was an early supporter of the BSP program because we believe in GSA’s vision and see value in one organization providing assurances for both the wild and farmed seafood supply chains,” Atlantic Capes Fisheries Director of Quality Assurance Matthew Grolnic said. “By attaining certification of our processing plants and vessels and sourcing from responsible fisheries, we have greater access to the marketplace and demonstrate to our customers that we use safe and responsible practices.”
The fully integrated seafood company is comprised of more than 25 harvesting vessels, two unloading facilities, three processing plants, and a fleet of delivery trucks that produce scallop and surf clams. The 25 harvesting vessels were certified to the Responsible Fishing Vessel standard (RFVS) in North America. The processing plants are located in the U.S. states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The company's Massachusetts plant was the pilot project for the Seafood Processing Standard (SPS) modification to wild-caught seafood, after being certified in 2019.
“We commend Atlantic Capes Fisheries for being an early adopter of the BSP program,” GSA CEO Brian Perkins said. “They have understood from the beginning the value that GSA provides in addressing gaps in seafood certification and we applaud them for achieving certification for their entire supply chain.”
Atlantic Capes Fisheries has long championed the sustainable seafood movement, joining Ocean Wise Seafood, in 2018, partnering with Maxwell Chase to develop packaging that keeps scallops fresh longer without adding preservatives.
“As both consumers and the seafood industry as a whole continue to evolve and understand the concerns of food safety, seafood sustainability, environmental issues and employee welfare, it made sense as a fleet driven company to expand our standards to include our fishing operations," Grolnic said. "Although very difficult, we believe in the long term it will separate our company from the competition and hopefully force others to match our commitment and participate."
Grolnic said reaching a high level of supply chain certification took commitment from the entire company.
“This has been an almost five-year process. It involves every aspect of our business, and our entire supply chain. It took every one of us, from the top down to make this happen,” Grolnic said. “Having this level of control and security throughout the entire supply chain is incredibly challenging. And with the fleet now part of the certification, each vessel is its own little facility, with a full implementation of the standard as well.”
To fully achieve supply-chain certification, BSP’s criteria requires sourcing from responsible fisheries. Atlantic Capes Fisheries’ fleet harvests the surf clams and scallops only from fisheries that are certified by standards benchmarked by the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI).
Grolnic said the company hopes to continue to push the bar higher for its performance on sustainability metrics.
“It’s one thing to achieve this level, it’s another to sustain it. First and foremost, we will be locking in this elevated standard, and ensure that these new practices and this improved culture are maintained throughout our supply chain,” he said. “Doing things the right way is hard. But we all should. All aspects of the seafood industry are very competitive from fishing to delivery, but only the major companies in each segment truly commit to these standards, creating an unfair playing field. Companies who participate in these programs finance the cost of these standards, whether competitors or retail or foodservice. At some point, we hope to see the industry united in commitment, with high standards being required and enforced that level the playing field and reward all segments who participate.”
Photo courtesy of Atlantic Capes Fisheries