Hy-Vee Partners With Suppliers to Fight Illegal Fishing

Hy-Vee has partnered with two of its suppliers and FishWise to trace products from fishing vessel to supermarket.

Hy Vee

As part of its Due Diligence Plans to improve traceability and social responsibility within its seafood supply chains, grocer Hy-Vee has partnered with two of its suppliers and FishWise to trace products from fishing vessel to supermarket. The companies worked together within its supply chain to demonstrate that best practices were in place for specific seafood products they carry, making it just the latest effort the grocer has participated in in the industry to address illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. 

One of the suppliers involved, Orca Bay Foods, sells a variety of seafood products to Hy-Vee including mahi-mahi. The companies, along with FishWise, worked together to take an in-depth look at a mahi-mahi product to ensure that both its harvest and journey to the store's shelves were in compliance with Hy-Vee's seafood procurement policy.

The companies recognize that collecting information about where a product comes from is an important part of verifying that a product is legal and sustainable. Another crucial step is ensuring that the companies selling the product are implementing robust company policies to mitigate risks of illegal seafood entering their supply chains. Orca Bay works toward this goal by preferentially sourcing mahi-mahi from a fishery improvement project and supper it in reaching its goals for improved sustainability and traceability. By collaborating with Hy-Vee and FishWise, Orca Bay took the extra step toward continuous improvement of its company's sustainability policies. 

"We're incredibly please with Orca Bay's collaboration on this project and efforts to strengthen the legal fishing practices for this mahi-mahi product," says Nate Stewart, Hy-Vee's executive vice president of perishables. "Hy-Vee is dedicated to being a leader in sustainability, and we hope to set an example with this effort that other companies will follow."

Hy-Vee recognizes the importance of ensuring that its committed to using sustainable and legal practices to bring seafood to their customers. 

"It's exciting to see a Midwest-based store like Hy-Vee make the effort to take a deep look into the origin of their seafood products," says Traci Linder, senior project manager at FishWise. "This sends a message to the seafood industry that companies of any size, from the vessel owner to the retailer, can identify areas for improvement and work with business partners to achieve their goals. Proactive and collaborative efforts like these have benefits that cascade beyond Hy-Bee and its customers, ultimately helping to improve the health of our oceans."