In tribute to its belief that sustainability is a never-ending journey, Wegmans has added an additional step to the Fishery Improvement Projects (FIP) in which it participates. Partners in various FIPs are being asked to provide 6-month updates; Wegmans is now publishing those updates to its website for customer access.
Fishery Improvement Projects are collaborations of fishery stakeholders including retailers, suppliers, scientists, government, NGOs (non-governmental agencies), and fishermen who develop and implement plans to improve various aspects of the seafood industry.
“We rely on scientists and data to help us decide how and where to responsibly source our seafood. And sometimes that information tells us that a particular fishery just isn’t healthy,” says Carl Salamone, Wegmans vice president of seafood sustainability. “Whether it’s been overfished, or damaging gear is being used, or perhaps the fishermen simply aren’t keeping track of their catch, the fishery is in danger. But the answer isn’t to turn our backs. Individuals, families, other businesses, and entire communities sometimes rely on the continued success of a fishery. We think FIPs are part of the solution – a way to preserve and even improve a challenging situation while working with our valued suppliers.”
Wegmans partners with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) to help understand its impact on the future of seafood sustainability. SFP scientists evaluate fisheries around the world and maintain a database of current information. Retailers, then use the information to make responsible sourcing decisions to help protect the biomass of each species they sell. Wegmans also works with Trace Register to verify each and every shipment that arrives at Wegmans docks. “We want to know that our specifications have been met. Where it was caught, what species it is, the scientific name, how long it’s been out of the water, etc,” says Salamone.
Status reporting is written into most Fishery Improvement Projects. Measurement against goals is used to determine future activities within the project. Wegmans decided to make an official request to all FIP participants to submit written updates in June and January of each year. “Regular updates keep every participant accountable for progress,” adds Salamone. “And sharing the information adds transparency to our program. We are proud of our seafood, and we want our customers to know about it.” Updates are available on the Where We’re Going tab on the Sustainable Seafood page of Wegmans.com.