Hy-Vee traces mahi to prevent IUU

Published on
December 7, 2018

United States supermarket chain Hy-Vee’s efforts to trace mahi is one of the ways the retailer is addressing illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee, Inc., which operates 245 stores, partnered with Seattle, Washington-based supplier Orca Bay Foods and FishWise to trace products from fishing vessel to supermarket. 

Hy-Vee, Orca Bay, and FishWise worked together to take an in-depth look at the mahi Orca Bay supplies to Hy-Vee to “ensure that both its harvest and journey to Hy-Vee’s shelves were in compliance with Hy-Vee’s Seafood Procurement Policy, Hy-Vee said in a statement.

To mitigate the risks of illegal seafood entering the supply chain, Orca Bay preferentially sources mahi from a fishery improvement project (FIP) and supports 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, Hy-Vee said.

“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, executive vice president of perishables for Hy-Vee. “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.”

While tackling an issue such as illegal fishing can seem daunting, every effort counts and progress can be accelerated through collaboration,” Hy-Vee said.

As Hy-Vee takes a deeper look into the origin of their seafood products, it 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,” said Traci Linder, senior project manager at FishWise. “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.”

Earlier this year, Hy-Vee began carrying Fair Trade Certified wild salmon, in addition to Fair Trade Certified tuna and scallops.

Hy-Vee also said in 2017 that 100 percent of its sushi utilizes fish caught in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. The chain began developing its sustainable, “responsible” seafood sourcing policy in 2012.

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