National Seafood Month festivities begin in the US with promotions, education outreach

Published on
October 5, 2020

U.S. retailers, restaurants, seafood suppliers, and organizations are celebrating October – National Seafood Month – with promotions as well as education on their sustainability and traceability initiatives.

San Antonio, Texas-based H-E-B is now sourcing only surimi made from wild Alaska pollock at more than 260 in-store sushi locations – accounting for an additional one million pounds sold by H-E-B next year. The news is a great way to kick off National Seafood Month, The Associaton of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP) said in a press release.

“This move to wild Alaska pollock in our sushi program has been one of our top sourcing and sustainability goals, and we’re proud to bring another great program from Alaska to our customers in Texas,” H-E-B Seafood Director Jason Driskill said.

Part of the rationale behind H-E-B’s switch was Alaska pollock’s strong sustainability story, in addition to its U.S. origin and the fact that the fish is wild-caught, according to Driskill.

“This is such incredible news for our fish and a recognition of all of wild Alaska pollock’s attributes,” GAPP CEO Craig Morris said.

Albertsons Companies and FishWise are also honoring National Seafood Month by shining a spotlight on a collaborative project focused on improving seafood traceability.

“Now, more than ever, traceability is key as we strive to adapt and rebuild global seafood supply chains that have been forever changed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Albertsons said in a press release. “Increasing transparency enables risks to be identified, and helps companies support practices that improve both environmental and social responsibility.”

As part of its Responsible Seafood Program, Albertsons Companies works with FishWise annually to review the best practices of a number of vendor partners to strengthen traceability and decrease environmental impacts.

This year, Albertsons focused on a domestic waterfront BISTRO wild-caught shrimp product from New Orleans, Louisiana-based Paul Piazza and Son Inc., a family-owned business.

“The teams conducted a comprehensive review of all available supply chain documentation (digital and otherwise) to fully trace this wild-caught shrimp from the ocean floor to your local Albertsons Companies’ store,” Albertsons said.

Albertsons said it was taking a closer look at its supply of imported shrimp, as recent news stories have exposed risks it could be associated with environmental and social welfare issues.

"Seafood products that utilize domestic fisheries and are processed in the U.S. have a lower risk of being affiliated with labor issues,” FishWise Project Director Michelle Beritzhoff-Law said. “However, reviewing the traceability systems for domestic products, as we did in this project, is still very important. Data collection and verification exercises help validate any social responsibility and environmental claims.”

The Seafood Nutrition Partnership (SNP), meanwhile, is urging industry and consumers to share their love of seafood on social media using pre-made messages from its Eat Seafood, America! communications toolkit, and to add #EatSeafoodAmerica to their social media posts.

Consumers who saw the Eat Seafood, America! campaign messages this summer were three times more likely to add seafood to their meals, SNP said.

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) released the MSC Blue Fish Guide, a new resource designed to help Americans choose seafood that is "Good for you and the ocean too,” the organization said in a press release.

The digital guidebook, available on the MSC-U.S. website, is a “helpful resource for Americans who want to add more seafood to their diets without costing the planet,” MSC said.

The guide includes visuals showing where consumers can look for sustainable seafood in grocery stores, an introduction to seafood certifications and ratings, information about different fish species, and ways to cook fish.

Photo courtesy of GAPP

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