Learn More About Hy-Vee’s Yellowfin Tuna Supplier, Anova

Anova Food is now one of Hy-Vee’s yellowfin tuna suppliers. Environmental and social responsibility are core values to Anova and the company has made many positive accomplishments with all of its key supply tuna fisheries.

As part of Hy-Vee’s Responsible Sourcing Commitment, Anova supplies our stores and consumers with handline caught, yellowfin tuna from both Indonesia and Vietnam that is currently rated as a yellow ‘Good Alternative’ by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program. Both of these fisheries have completed Marine Stewardship Council pre-assessments and are participating in public and credible fishery improvement projects working toward MSC certification in the near future.

In addition to fishery improvement work, Anova organized a Fishing & Living initiative in 2012 to improve the environmental and social aspects of tuna fisheries, focused on improving fishing practices, improved fishery management, improved fishermen welfare and support of community development in Indonesia.

Much like Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice initiative, Fishing & Living is an industry-led initiative launching from Anova Food’s commitment to source tuna from responsible fisheries that support thriving fishing communities. The Fishing & Living initiative is made possible through collaborations with international and local non-governmental organizations, governments at all levels from local through national, a host of other entities and individuals on-site and working in the communities, and the fishermen themselves.

Since 2012, Fishing & Living has been promoting and leading improvements in the Indonesia handline yellowfin tuna fishery. Given the scattered nature of the fishery, improvements are being implemented in several locations across eastern Indonesia. These include setting up data collection programs at landing sites, Fair Trade programs for wild capture fisheries, fishermen centers in the fishing communities and awareness campaigns on responsible fisheries. All activities are conducted with a multi-stakeholder approach working with local and national fisheries managers, fish traders and the fishermen directly.

For more information about Anova’s Fishing & Living project and for biographies of the fisherman, visit http://fishing-living.org.

Bairdi Snow Crab: “The Best Forgotten” Snow Crab

Hy-Vee Alaska Bairdi snow crab is considered among fisherman and crab lovers as some of the highest quality crab on the market. Its exceptional, sweet flavor and firm texture are easily distinguishable over its cousin, the Opilio snow crab.

For many years, the Bairdi snow crab numbers have been stale, while the Opilio snow crab dominated the markets. Thanks in part to improved management practices by the Alaska Fisheries, the 2013 to 2014 season posted the largest catch in more than 20 years.

Bairdi snow crab are found throughout the Bering Sea. They are typically caught through the use of crab pots similar to those used to catch the larger king crab. The pots are placed at depths ranging from 114 to 1,100 feet. The season opens in January and typically runs through March or April. The catch is all based on strict quota bases that are managed by the state of Alaska, the leaders in seafood sustainability.

Crab lovers will have their opportunity to try some of this delicious crab throughout June at their local Hy-Vee seafood market.

What Does Dolphin-Safe mean?

When purchasing canned tuna, you may have seen “dolphin-safe” label on the can. But what exactly does that mean?

In the U.S., the dolphin-safe label is focused on the relationship between yellowfin tuna and herds of dolphins in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. In this area of the ocean, large mature yellowfin tuna swim under certain species of dolphins for reasons that are not fully known by scientists. Due to the area’s unique oceanographic characteristics, the grouping of yellowfin tuna and dolphins rarely occurs in other areas of the ocean.

A fishery in the area uses dolphins to locate tuna by chasing them and encircling the dolphins with the tuna in a huge net called a purse seine. In the 1960s and 1970s, hundreds of thousands of dolphins were killed by the fishery. Public concern over the impact to dolphin populations in this area led to the development of the dolphin-safe label as a way for consumers to ensure that no dolphins were harmed to make their canned tuna.

In the 1980s, a campaign was launched to encourage Americans to boycott canned tuna. In response to the boycott, the three major canned tuna companies, Bumble Bee, Starkist and Chicken of the Sea, pledged to only purchase tuna caught without chasing and encircling dolphins in purse seine nets. To advertise this to consumers, they placed a blue label on the can, which effectively closed the U.S. market to purse seine vessels fishing in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. Rather than guaranteeing that no dolphins were killed in the fishing process, the label signifies that in tuna items sourced from the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, dolphins were not chased and encircled to capture the tuna.

Soon after the tuna companies created the label, the U.S. government adopted the labeling procedures into law with the Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act of 1987.

Hy-Vee customers can enjoy any brand of canned tuna they choose, as every type Hy-Vee offers carries the dolphin-safe label. Customers can be assured that the canned tuna they buy at Hy-Vee did not come from vessels that chase and encircle herds of dolphins. In addition, Responsible Choice Hy-Vee Select canned skipjack and albacore tuna are caught with methods that are both dolphin-safe and environmentally friendly. You can read more about the items in a previous blog post.

Grilling Responsible Choice Seafood

In the summer, grilling is one of the best ways to prepare Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice fish and seafood.

Consider these tips the next time you grill fish and seafood.

  1. Start with a clean grill surface that has been lightly sprayed with Hy-Vee non-stick cooking spray.
  2. The fish should only be turned once during cooking.
  3. Cook fish for 5 to 6 minutes per side for every inch of thickness. Let the direct heat of the grill do the work for you.

Fresh Alaskan wild salmon is in Hy-Vee stores for the next couple of months and is great on the grill. Other great choices are halibut steaks and tuna. Delicate white fish can work well if you use a grill basket.

Plank it:

A popular way to prepare wild salmon is to cook it on cedar planks, which adds smokiness and a cedar flavor to the fish. To plank salmon, soak the plank in water overnight, and place the salmon on the plank to grill.

If you want to infuse your fish with other flavors, try soaking the planks in a smoked porter beer or an oaked chardonnay.

Thursday’s Seafoodies recipe post will feature grilled Responsible Choice salmon on a cedar plank, so be sure to stop back for that!

Pouch it:

If you don’t want to take a chance of the fish sticking, cook it en papillote, which literally means cooking “in paper.” If you’re using parchment paper, use medium-high indirect heat to prevent the paper from burning. Add a little white wine, some fresh herbs and vegetables or citrus fruits, like lemon, orange or grapefruit, and you’ve got a meal in a bag.

A foil pouch will also work — just make sure you poke a few holes in the foil to allow the smoke flavor to infuse.

Seasoning:

Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice fish and seafood have fresh flavor that don’t require a lot of seasonings or spices. I like to use Hy-Vee’s Fish and Seafood Grinder Seasoning or simple sea salt and cracked black pepper with some fresh lemon to allow the fish’s natural flavor to shine.

Marinate it in alcohol:

An alcohol marinade can release a new flavor sensation, but be sure not to overdo it. Alcohol is great for tenderizing — try 30 minutes, which is just long enough to infuse the flavor. If the fish is in the marinade too long, especially if it’s an acidic marinade, the proteins can begin to coagulate and the cooking process can begin.

Some combinations to think about are scallops with a tequila lime sauce or wild salmon glazed with bourbon and brown sugar.

Skin on or off:

Whether to keep or remove the skin on your fish is a matter of preference. If you plan to remove the skin, start with the presentation side down on the grill and flip it only once, after about 4 minutes.

If you’re going to leave the skin on, that’s the presentation side and there is no need to flip it. Just be sure the skin is crispy and not mushy.

Wait for the fish to naturally release itself from the grill while it is cooking, as moving it around can tear the flesh.

Other fish:

Catfish, tilapia, cod and delicate white fishes generally don’t hold up well when placed directly on the grill grates, but you can still enjoy them. Hy-Vee sells stainless steel fish baskets that will keep your fillets intact while grilling.

Whole rainbow trout also works well. Score the skin on both sides and slip citrus and herbs under the skin to add more flavor. Some of the herbs that work well include thyme, tarragon, fennel, dill, rosemary and oregano.

NOAA Fisheries’ Status of Stocks 2014 Report Finds Overfishing in the United States is at an All-Time Low

The Status of Stocks report is an annual assessment by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service that evaluates progress toward sustainable management of fish stocks in the United States. A stock is a part of a fish population, usually with a particular migration pattern and specific spawning grounds.

The study tracks whether stocks are on the overfished list or overfishing list. A stock is on the overfishing list when the annual catch rate is too high. A stock is on the overfished list when the population size of a stock is too low, whether because of fishing or oceanographic changes.

There were 469 stocks included in the assessment, and in 2014, the number of overfished stocks and stocks that were subject to overfishing was the lowest since NOAA began tracking stock status in 1997. In 2014, 26 stocks were on the overfishing list and 37 were on the overfished list.

These findings highlight the United States’ continued progress toward sustainably managing fish stocks. This progress is a result of the combined efforts of NOAA fisheries, the regional fishery management councils, the fishing industry and other partners.

The number of stocks on these lists has been steadily declining due to successful efforts to rebuild fisheries, which can be accomplished by establishing and enforcing catch limits, gear restrictions, minimum sizes, temporal area closures and other management tools. Six stocks —snowy grouper on the southern Atlantic coast, North Atlantic albacore, haddock in the Gulf of Maine, gag grouper in the South Atlantic, the Jacks complex in the Gulf of Mexico and Bluefin tuna in the western Atlantic — were removed from the overfishing list. Two stocks are no longer listed as overfished — gag grouper in the Gulf of Mexico and North Atlantic albacore — and were removed from both lists.

Hy-Vee customers can feel reassured that purchasing seafood caught in the U.S. is a good choice. The U.S. government is monitoring the health of its fisheries and ensuring that they are being fished sustainably, while fishermen in the U.S. are dedicated to following the laws governing fisheries management.

Hy-Vee labels Responsible Choice seafood, so keep an eye out for seafood caught in the United States, such as king crab, wild Alaskan salmon, Pacific halibut, Pacific cod, U.S. Alaska pollock and sablefish/black cod.

Hy-Vee Celebrating First Seasonal Catch of Responsible Choice Wild Salmon in Stores

Copper River Salmon

Hy-Vee Responsible Choice wild salmon, caught from Alaska’s Copper River, are some of the very first salmon to arrive in stores when the fresh wild season opens in mid-May. This yearly event attracts media attention and draws foodies from around the globe. The celebration kicks off with the first fish arriving in Seattle aboard an Alaska Airlines Boeing jet, a plane that features a huge mural image of salmon along the entire length of the jet.

The consumer demand for this product has grown each year with foodies eagerly waiting for the first salmon to arrive in their local Hy-Vee. The pure, pristine environment of the Copper River helps to create an omega-3 powerhouse. Copper River salmon begin their journey 300 miles downstream at the mouth of the Copper River, then make the long trek up through fast currents and unspoiled glacial-fed waters to reach their spawning grounds. This trek requires the salmon to store extra energy in the form of fat. The one-of-a-kind flavor and texture generates from this fat and makes any seafood lover’s mouth water. It is truly some of the highest prized salmon in the world.

About the River

The Copper River takes its name from the rich copper deposits found along its banks. This massive body of water has 13 major tributaries, is one mile wide and runs at seven miles per hour. The Copper River is the 10th largest river in the United States, and is home to some of finest, well-managed salmon stocks in the world. Alaska’s successful management practices are considered a model of sustainability for the rest of the world. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game monitors fish populations at several points along the Copper River and counts salmon heading up the river to ensure that an adequate number migrate to spawning grounds to reproduce each year. Policies like this have helped Alaska maintain one of the world’s most abundant sources of delicious wild seafood for generations to come. This is why we proudly place our Hy-Vee Responsible Choice label on wild Alaska salmon.

Hy-Vee features Responsible Choice Mt. Cook farmed salmon

A heart-healthy and tasty option this season, Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice Mt. Cook farmed salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids; vitamins A, B, D and E; and plenty of protein power. Sourced from Mt. Cook Alpine salmon, the salmon is from farms rated as a Green “Best Choice” by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program, which is the highest rating farmed salmon has ever received. The seafood is farmed in a freshwater lake in southern New Zealand, and the farm uses no antibiotics, growth hormones or chemicals to bring the fish to market.

Hy-Vee Introduces Responsible Choice Alaskan Pacific Halibut

With sizes more than 8 feet in length and weights surpassing the 500 pound mark, you can see why the largest of all flatfish is referred to by Alaska fisherman as “Barn Doors” for their massive size. Hy-Vee is pleased to introduce the availability of this popular fish, Alaskan Pacific halibut, to its meat counter.

Pacific halibut is often considered America’s favorite white fish. You can find halibut on restaurant menus and in fresh seafood cases across the country for grilling at home during the summer. Alaskan Pacific halibut is a mild, delicate and sweet-tasting white fish. Uncooked, the meat should be almost translucent — not dull, yellowish or dry. When cooked, the snowy-white meat loses its glossy appearance and flakes at the touch of a fork. As an added bonus, its versatility in the kitchen is almost limitless. The thick, meaty flesh holds up well to a number of cooking methods and sauces, and it’s an ideal item to skewer for a summer BBQ.

Hy-Vee is pleased to label Alaskan Pacific halibut as a Responsible Choice seafood item this year. Today, the only legal fishing method for commercial Pacific halibut fishermen is longline gear, aimed at the typical market size for this year’s catch of 10 to 15 pound halibut, which is much smaller than the 500 pound giants these flatfish can sometimes become. The 2015 season got underway on March 14 and will run until November 7, or until the quota of 29,223,000 pounds is met.

This season, Hy-Vee got its first taste of fresh Pacific halibut the week of season open on March 16. This was possible as all of our fish from Alaska are flown via Fed-Ex® overnight from Alaska to the Des Moines International Airport. After going through our U.S. Department of Commerce Inspection process at Perishable Distributors of Iowa (PDI), Hy-Vee stores have the opportunity to receive fresh halibut that has been out of Alaskan waters for only 48 hours. That is quite a feat, especially in the Midwest.

In general, the Alaska Pacific halibut commercial fisheries, including Hy-Vee’s primary vendor Copper River Seafoods, are selective in the fish they catch because of the size of the hook needed to harvest such a large fish – using a large hook generally reduces bycatch of smaller fish. Fishermen use circle hooks to increase catch rates and to improve the survival of any undersized halibut caught and released during commercial fishing. To reduce bycatch of other ground fish, regulations prohibit commercial Pacific halibut fisheries in specific depths and areas off the West Coast. The United States and Canada coordinate management through a bilateral commission known as the International Pacific Halibut Commission. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries and the North Pacific and Pacific Fishery Management Councils are responsible for allocating allowable catch among users in the U.S. fisheries through the NOAA FishWatch.

Responsible Choice LabelAlthough the Alaska Pacific halibut commercial fishery industry has changed substantially over the years, the science-based management of the fisheries has remained constant, sustaining this industry for nearly 100 years. This is another testament to the Alaskan fisheries being some the best managed sustainable fishery industries in the world. Because of its well-managed fisheries and practices, Hy-Vee is proud to label Alaskan Pacific halibut with our Responsible Choice logo of approval.

Hy-Vee’s Private Label Canned Tuna Among Top Five Responsibly Sourced Brands

Recently, Hy-Vee’s private label canned tuna ranked fifth in Greenpeace USA’s Tuna Shopping Guide, which analyzed 14 widely available canned tuna brands across the United States. Greenpeace scored brands in categories including traceability, fishing methods used, product labeling and consumer education, and support for marine reserves and promoting industry change. Through this scoring process, it found that only 20 percent of the canned tuna sold in the United States comes from sources that engage in responsible and nondestructive fishing practices.

Hy-Vee Select Responsible Choice skipjack and albacore tuna were recognized as ocean-safe products because of their pole-and-line or pole-and-troll fishing methods, which have minimal impact on other species. Greenpeace also noted Hy-Vee’s recent strides with its Seafood Procurement Policy and the availability of information on the company’s responsible seafood efforts.

Hy-Vee’s Seafood Procurement Policy includes the Responsible Choice labeling initiative, which informs customers about the company’s efforts to provide seafood from environmentally responsible sources. The policy was created to help Hy-Vee sell seafood that is not only safe for consumption, but that is also harvested or raised in a manner providing for its long-term viability while minimizing damage to the environment and other sea life.

Hy-Vee is dedicated to delivering a high-quality seafood selection to Midwest customers. To accomplish this, the company knows it must also play an integral role in keeping our oceans healthy. We congratulate Hy-Vee on this recent recognition and look forward to helping the company continue to improve its responsible seafood efforts.

Hy-Vee Customers Can Support the Responsible Choice Initiative and Help Save the Oceans in Four Simple Ways

Today’s consumers are not only interested in where their food comes from, but also the implications associated with how it was harvested. Through the Responsible Choice initiative, Hy-Vee has established specific guidelines to offer high-quality seafood that is not only safe for consumption but also is harvested in a manner that provides for its long-term viability — all while minimizing damage to the environment and other sea life.

Customers can assist in the effort to help save sea life and provide for a sustainable future in the following ways:

  • Purchase seafood with Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice label. The Responsible Choice label is backed by rigorous science and is Hy-Vee’s guarantee that the seafood you’re buying is not causing harm to the environment. To make responsible seafood recommendations, Hy-Vee draws from a variety of science-based sources such as peer-reviewed research, third-party certifications and color rankings generated by industry-leading non-profit organizations. Hy-Vee consistently works to improve transparency in seafood supply chains by ensuring products are traceable back to the point of harvest. Remember, choosing seafood that is responsibly sourced helps reduce pressure on global fish populations, and in turn ensures long-term viability of the seafood you love to eat.
  • Do your part by doing your own research. In order to protect marine resources and ensure future seafood supplies, Hy-Vee has committed to selling responsibly sourced fresh and frozen seafood that is rated as a Green “Best Choice” or a Yellow “Good Alternative” by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program, certified to an environmental standard equivalent to these ratings, or sourced from credible, time-bound improvement projects. You can help too by educating yourself on the issue. Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch website at seafoodwatch.com or download the Seafood Watch app on your smartphone to learn more about the impacts fishing and aquaculture have on the environment.
  • Ask for more information. Whether you are at a restaurant or grocery store, ask questions. Information is power. Asking a simple question, such as “Where does this fish come from?,” alerts businesses that customers want sustainable seafood and expect businesses which are selling the product to be informed. To take it a step further, you may ask if the seafood is responsibly sourced, and support restaurants and businesses that offer ocean-friendly seafood. Encourage your friends and family to do the same, and buy local when possible.
  • “Reuse, Reduce, Recycle.” Now is the time to put this well-known slogan into action. Plastic pollution negatively affects the ocean, so it’s important to make sure waste is disposed of properly to prevent it from ending up in our waterways. Today, nearly 80 percent of plastic materials in the ocean originate on land — that’s a staggering amount of pollution that affects ocean habitats and entangles sea life. You can help to reduce the amount of plastic pollution by utilizing a reusable water bottle rather than buying single-use water bottles; bringing a reusable bag to the grocery store instead of using plastic bags; participating in a river clean-up to prevent trash from flowing into the ocean; and recycling whenever possible.

Remember, you too can be a leader in ocean preservation by encouraging responsible seafood options, supporting responsible businesses and doing your part to minimize pollution. One person can make a difference, and we encourage all customers to take part in Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice initiative.