Publix Super Markets has stepped up collaboration with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) and Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) to help customers make more informed choices when buying seafood.
Icons indicating “responsibly sourced” and “sustainably sourced” products will now appear with price tags at the full-service seafood counter and on shelf tags in the frozen seafood display case, Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix said Monday.
The southeastern grocer noted that items labeled with these icons have met strict SFP and GSSI standards, enabling shoppers to identify which seafood purchases come from a sustainable source or are responsibly raised or caught.
“Responsibly sourced” signifies that wild-caught seafood is considered managed by the SFP or in a credible, graded fishery improvement project (FIP), while farm-raised products qualify for a GSSI-approved ecolabel or an aquaculture improvement project (AIP) or may be certified at the hatchery, plant and/or feed levels, Publix said on its seafood sustainability web page.
Meanwhile, “sustainably sourced” denotes that wild-caught seafood qualifies for a GSSI-approved ecolabel, was evaluated by the SFP and is considered well managed, and that all four levels of the supply chain for farm-raised items — farm, hatchery, plant and feed — qualify for a GSSI-approved ecolabel, according to Publix. Shellfish must qualify at three levels of the supply chain, including farm, plant and hatchery.
An SFP partner since 2009, Publix said it was an early adopter of the FIP approach, in which multiple stakeholders work to raise the sustainability of a fishery.
“Participation with SFP helps Publix better understand important issues surrounding seafood sustainability,” Maria Brous, director of media and community relations at Publix, said in a statement. “This partnership allows us to identify where change is needed the most and empowers Publix to invest in fisheries to help them gain necessary resources to improve their sustainability practices.”
Publix reported that in 2017 it was recognized as the first U.S. supermarket retailer to participate in the Ocean Disclosure Project (ODP). Launched in 2015 by the SFP, the ODP provides a reporting framework for seafood-buying companies — including retailers, suppliers, fish feed manufacturers and others — to voluntarily disclose their wild-caught seafood sourcing and information on the environmental performance of each fishery. The grocery chain added that it regularly brings together all its seafood suppliers to discuss sustainability and works with the National Fisheries Institute (NFI) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) to spur industry change in this area.
One of the nation’s largest supermarket operators, Publix has 1,221 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.