Retail Seafood Buyers, Wholesalers, & Distributors

Looking ahead five, ten, fifteen years from now, will there be enough wild favorites like grouper, cod, and sablefish to meet the demands of your consumers? Ensuring the long-term sustainability of our ocean resources makes sound economic sense for seafood businesses. Ocean Conservancy believes the foundation for sustainable fishery resources begins with solid, science-based fisheries management. Responsible management of US fisheries is essential to ensuring a long-term, consistent, and plentiful supply of our favorite seafood items.

One proposed solution to supplement wild-caught fish is fish farming in the oceans. This presents its own set of potential impacts, if not done properly, and can pose risks to wild-caught species and impact the marine ecosystem as a whole. A comprehensive policy to guide the responsible development of this industry is necessary to prevent undue harm.

Learn what is happening with the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery

What Ocean Conservancy is Doing

Ocean Conservancy envisions a future where seafood lovers can have their fish and eat it, too.

Ocean Conservancy advises wholesale and retail seafood buyers about improving the sustainability of their seafood products by purchasing from fishermen who are using the best fishing techniques and equipment. In addition, we work directly with conservation-minded fishermen to help them improve their practices. Together with shrimp fishermen, Texas Sea Grant, and the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), Ocean Conservancy has launched the Gulf of Mexico Shrimp Fishery Improvement Roundtable to identify innovative and practical measures to improve the fishery. We are working with shrimp fishermen to adopt innovative shrimp-fishing gear that greatly reduces bycatch of sea turtles and finfish, improves shrimp quality, and is likely to have less impact on the ocean floor.

Ocean Conservancy is also deeply involved in fisheries and aquaculture policy, and we can act as a resource for seafood buyers interested in monitoring and influencing important issues and decisions that will impact their supply chain. Ocean Conservancy is a strong presence in the regional and national forums in which management decisions are made about our fisheries and our fish farms. Likewise, we are able to influence the outcomes of these decisions toward more sustainable policies. Seafood buyers have a key role to play in improving the sustainability of their products by supporting science-based policies and a long-term vision for the future of our ocean resources. Ocean Conservancy can provide a platform from which do so. Read more about policy engagement below in “What You Can Do.”

Conservation Alliance We have also partnered with more than a dozen leading Canadian and U.S. organizations to form the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions. Participating organizations bring conservation expertise to seafood buyers and suppliers so businesses and the ocean and freshwater resources they depend on can flourish.

What You Can Do

Retail seafood buyers and distributors can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability by purchasing from sources that are already sustainable and by simply doing business with fishermen and suppliers who are committed to sustainable fishing practices. In addition, seafood buyers and distributors can help to return once-thriving fisheries to health by supporting fishermen and seafood farmers who are working to improve their sustainability practices, and by speaking up for responsible, science-based policy decisions.

Ocean Conservancy can help seafood buyers identify innovative, conservation-minded suppliers who are helping to move their fisheries in the right direction. Seafood buyers and distributors can also play a valuable role in improving the sustainability of wild fisheries by supporting better management policies that improve the fishery over the long term. Our experience has shown that a single, well-timed letter from a seafood business can make a big difference.

When purchasing farmed seafood, buyers and distributors can seek out suppliers that buy their fish from farms that are using the best practices to minimize impacts to the marine environment. Seafood buyers can also learn about and support good policies that provide clear guidance for the development of fish farms in the open ocean.

And don't forget about your positive influence on consumers. In a recent survey, we learned that consumers are looking to grocery stores and restaurants for much of their facts about seafood, and they want more and better information. By consistently providing both sustainably caught seafood and the information to back up that designation, you can build the trust that will help your customers make the best seafood purchases and keep our fisheries healthy in the future. Learn more about the results from the Edge Research survey.

At the core of Ocean Conservancy's approach to sustainable seafood is the platform we’ve created for easy involvement of the seafood industry in policy and fisheries management issues. We will provide you with policy updates and advise you on when and how to get involved. Our experience with current partners has demonstrated that seafood buyers can make a huge difference on sustainability. Our collaborative approach has won industry support and has already helped advance sustainability for two of the Gulf of Mexico’s most important commercial species: red snapper and shrimp.

But, we can’t help you if you don’t join us. For more information on how you can get involved with Ocean Conservancy’s sustainable seafood program, please contact: Libby Fetherston, Manager, Fish Conservation, Southeast, efethers@oceanconservancy.org

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