Seafood Eco-Certifications

Hy-Vee’s goal is to provide seafood that is not only safe for our customers but also is harvested or raised in a manner that provides for its long-term sustainability while minimizing damage to the environment. Seafood buyers and suppliers prefer to source seafood from third-party-certified facilities for a variety of environmentally and socially responsible policy reasons. The three eco-certification programs detailed below are the most commonly accepted under Hy-Vee’s Seafood Procurement Policy. These certifications have been benchmarked to the Seafood Watch standard that makes up the foundation of the policy and have been found to be equivalent to a Yellow ‘Good Alternative’ at a minimum.

These certifications are:

  1. Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
    • For wild fisheries only
    • Eligible species are: all wild-caught species
  2. The MSC standards were developed through consultation with the fishing industry, scientists, conservation groups, experts and stakeholders. These standards detail the requirements for fisheries to be certified as sustainable and for businesses to trade in certified seafood. Fisheries and seafood businesses voluntarily seek certification against the relevant standards. These standards meet international best practice guidelines for certification and eco-labeling.

  3. Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)
    • For farmed species only
    • Eligible species are: shrimp, pangasius (swai), bivalves
  4. The ASC’s primary role is to manage the global standards for responsible aquaculture, which were developed by the WWF Aquaculture Dialogues. ASC works with aquaculture producers, seafood processors, retail and food-service companies, scientists, conservation groups and consumers to recognize and reward responsible aquaculture through the ASC aquaculture certification program and seafood label. Their hope is to provide the best environmental and social choice when buying seafood and to contribute to transforming seafood markets towards sustainability.

  5. Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) Administered by the Global Aquaculture Alliance
    • For farmed species only
    • Eligible species are: shrimp (2-star, 3-star or 4-star certified), pangasius (swai), mussels
  6. BAP standards encompass the entire aquaculture production chain, including farms, processing plants, hatcheries and feed mills. All standards address every key element of responsible aquaculture, including environmental responsibility, social responsibility, food safety, animal welfare and traceability. The seafood processing plant standards are benchmarked against the latest Global Food Safety Initiative food safety requirements. A market development team actively promotes the BAP program to retailers and food-service operators worldwide on behalf of BAP-certified facilities.

Author: Kathleen Mullen-Ley

My name is Kathleen Mullen-Ley, and I am a project manager for FishWise. FishWise, a nonprofit sustainable seafood consultancy, has been working with Hy-Vee to research and recommend seafood product sourcing, develop and implement Hy-Vee's Responsible Choice Seafood materials and staff training, and analyze data to measure progress towards Hy-Vee's 2015 Commitment. I hold a master’s degree in marine biodiversity and conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies from the University of California Santa Cruz. My graduate research project was an analysis of the World Trade Organization ruling on the U.S. dolphin-safe tuna label and its implications for future market-based marine conservation efforts. My experience analyzing fishery management issues and communicating marine science to diverse audiences combined with my respect for ocean life has made me well-prepared to take on the challenges of sustainable seafood.