I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to find seafood in the grocery store that is sustainably sourced, but man is it difficult! According to a report released by Oceana in 2011, 84% of seafood purchased in the United States is imported, and only 2% of imported seafood is actually inspected. Additional findings revealed that the majority of all seafood sold in US grocery stores are mislabeled and do not honestly report how, when, and where the fish is caught. Beth Lowell, campaign director at Oceana, commented, “The results are disturbing. The continued mislabeling of seafood in Florida shows that inspections alone are not enough. Seafood needs to be traced from boat to plate to ensure that it is safe, legal, and honestly labeled.”
Don’t worry, there is hope! Food Lion recently announced that it will only sell sustainably sourced fish that have been certified by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. Food Lion’s new policy covers around 1,000 froze, fresh, and canned seafood products sold to the 1,100 supermarkets it operates in. This policy begins with requiring the suppliers to provide documentation tracing where both wild and farmed fish were harvested. For those suppliers who provide wild-caught fish, it is required that these fisheries are managed sustainably and are backed up with credible and enforced science-based management practices. As for farm-raised seafood, it is mandatory that the farms have certification backing up that their practices do not harm the environment, workers, communities, or human health.
Food Lion, based in North Carolina, has also donated its first 9,000 sustainable seafood products to food banks in North Carolina and South Carolina. Food Lion is owned by the Delhaize Group, which is based in Belgium, and in addition to practicing sustainable food sourcing, Delhaize is also committed to their goal of lowering their greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by the year 2020.
Hopefully their good example will encourage other seafood providers to follow suit!