Darden leads initiative to rebuild fisheries
At the Clinton Global Initiative’s (CGI) seventh annual meeting on Wednesday, Darden Restaurants — the world’s largest casual-dining company and owner of the Red Lobster seafood chain — was recognized for its three-year commitment to rebuilding ailing fisheries through Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs).
Darden’s recognition stems from CGI’s Commitments to Action, whereby members are encouraged to propose plans to address global challenges. Darden’s submission, “Catalyzing Industry to Rebuild World Fisheries,” was selected as an exemplary approach to addressing challenges in the environment and energy sectors and includes commitments to combat illegal fishing, enhance fishing productivity and reduce ecological impact.
As part of its Commitment to Action, the Orlando, Fla.-based company will lead a new alliance of companies, NGOs and others, including the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) and Publix Super Markets, and will initially support efforts to improve U.S. Gulf of Mexico grouper and red snapper fisheries.
“As one of the largest buyers of seafood in the world, Darden is an industry leader in supporting healthy ecosystems for future generations. Through this commitment, Darden is taking action to create change within the seafood supply chain by building alliances with governments, conservation advocates and communities to develop and implement fishery improvement. We hope others will look at what Darden has achieved and committed to, and as a result, take action,” said SFP CEO Jim Cannon.
Other Darden contributions in support of fisheries and aquaculture sustainability include co-founding the Global Aquaculture Alliance to promote aquaculture best practices; partnering with the New England Aquarium to provide current data on wild fisheries and aquaculture; and supporting work in Canadian and Caribbean fisheries to enhance lobster stocks and ensure a sustainable livelihood for fishermen.
“We are honored the Clinton Global Initiative recognizes our efforts to preserve world marine ecosystems that benefit our environment, fishing communities and people around the globe who rely on seafood as a sustainable source of protein,” said Ian Olson, Darden’s director of sustainability. “We will continue to work with SFP and other organizations to build on the success of our commitment to sustainable aquaculture.”