Seafood Quality Standards
Our goal is to work with the passion of our customers, the commitment of our skilled seafood buyers, and the dedication of our many seafood suppliers to help move our stores — and the seafood industry as a whole—toward healthier oceans. We're proud that back in 1999 we were the first U.S. retailer to offer Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified seafood. And our momentum didn't stop there. Our farmed seafood standards are the highest in the industry, with third-party verification to ensure suppliers meet the standards. Our new wild-caught seafood rating program provides information about the sustainability status of all non-MSC certified wild-caught seafood in all store seafood cases. With our new commitments to purchasing seafood from the most abundant, best managed, fisheries, we're working hard to turn the tide in the direction of greater sustainability.
Commitment to Quality
Our desire to maintain such high standards is also the reason we got into the seafood business ourselves. We own and operate four facilities that serve as bases for monitoring and distributing our seafood, which in many cases is caught or grown just for us:
- Pigeon Cove (Gloucester, Massachusetts) — Our only facility located right on the water with year-round landings of North Atlantic ground fish, including cod, haddock and flounder.
- Select Fish (Seattle, Washington) — Our primary purveyor of wild-caught Alaskan salmon. We have a buyer located in Alaska sourcing the best fish, delivered directly to cut out the middleman.
- South Seafood (Atlanta, Georgia) — Our gulf and southern Atlantic species experts, sourcing the best mahi mahi, grouper and snapper.
- Mid-Atlantic Seafood (Landover, Maryland) — Our specialists in sourcing Icelandic groundfish and East Coast favorites such as local striped bass and blue crabs.
Our tireless commitment to quality doesn't end there. We also offer the finest frozen seafood for convenience, value and year-round availability of seasonal favorites. And frozen seafood offers an added benefit for the planet: Its carbon footprint is smaller since it can be transported by boat instead of by air. Some species, such as farmed shrimp, are flash-frozen upon harvest to capture their fresh-caught flavor and texture. Seasonal wild salmon is also flash-frozen to ensure a steady supply during winter when fresh, wild salmon is not an option.
Whether it's wild-caught or farmed, fresh or frozen, everything in our seafood department adheres to our strict Quality Standards, which are the highest in the industry.
When it comes to farmed seafood, we know exactly where ours comes from, what it was fed ... and more importantly, what it wasn't fed! When it's done responsibly, fish farming — also known as aquaculture — provides high-quality fish, can be environmentally friendly, and can be a crucial way to supplement the supply of wild-caught fish. And we know we can trust the farmers we partner with because they are world leaders in environmentally responsible aquaculture. Together with scientists and environmentalists, they helped us to develop our strict Quality Standards for Aquaculture, which include:
- No use of antibiotics, added growth hormones and poultry and mammalian by-products in feed.
- Traceability that allows us to track our farmed seafood — where it came from and how it got to our stores.
- Requirements that producers minimize the impacts of fish farming on the environment by protecting sensitive habitats such as mangrove forests and wetlands, monitoring water quality to prevent pollution, and sourcing feed ingredients responsibly.
- Strict protocols to ensure that farmed seafood is not escaping into the environment and that wildlife around the farm is protected.