Behind every seafood product we offer is a dedicated and skilled worker. Whether on a fishing boat, at an aquaculture farm, or in a processing facility, their hard work enables us to provide the most responsible seafood to our customers.
At Hy-Vee, we believe that we have an important role to play in safeguarding both the health of our oceans and the well-being of workers in our seafood supply chains. That’s why we set high standards through our Seafood Procurement Policy which helps ensure that the suppliers we partner with share our commitment to sourcing environmentally sustainable seafood and using socially responsible practices.
On a recent trip to Thailand, our non-profit partner FishWise learned more about the ways one of our shrimp suppliers is investing in worker well-being and sustainability.
Seafresh can be found tucked away in a lush, tropical paradise bordering the picturesque Gulf of Thailand. Their operation is significant, employing more than 2,500 people at the farm and the processing facility, many of whom come from the neighboring countries of Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia. To provide the best possible working environment, Seafresh has committed to globally recognized best practices in the responsible recruitment of workers – a crucial factor in preventing human trafficking and forced labor. They’ve installed grievance systems so that all workers, regardless of job title, are able to report issues directly to management, as well as created worker welfare committees and an employee care team, which engage workers in the problem solving process with management. Seafresh also partners with a local human rights non-profit to educate workers on their rights, train them on how to use the grievance mechanism tools, and conduct regular interviews to monitor workplace satisfaction.
“It is important that our employees come to work each day feeling that this is a safe and fair place to work, where they are valued for more than just the amount of shrimp produced. We want them to feel empowered here and that this is a place where dedication pays off,” said Dominique Gautier, Director of Sustainability at Seafresh Group.
In addition to understanding the importance of protecting and empowering workers, Seafresh also understands the necessity of protecting and maintaining the environments our seafood relies on. Which is why every shrimp Seafresh exports to the U.S. meet Hy-Vee’s Seafood Procurement Policy, and is either Aquaculture Stewardship Council or Best Aquaculture Practices certified. Additionally, they have set aside land on-site for a worker-led community garden and are partnering with the local government to restore more than 38 hectares of mangrove forest.
“Seafresh is dedicated to sustainable and socially responsible practices, which we value and seek in our suppliers,” said Jason Pride, vice president of meat and seafood operations at Hy-Vee.