At Hy-Vee, Every Day is World Oceans Day

Hy-Vee may be headquartered in Iowa, a landlocked state in the middle of the country without an ocean in sight, but the company’s strong Seafood Procurement Policy and its commitment to responsibly source all of its fresh and frozen Hy-Vee brand seafood by the end of 2015 reflect a growing global concern about the health of the world’s seas.

On Sunday, June 8, like-minded individuals, businesses and organizations paused to observe World Oceans Day, an idea first proposed in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, adopted by The Ocean Project in 2002 and formally adopted by the United Nations in 2008.

The theme of the 2014 observance, “Together we have the power to protect the ocean,” is in keeping with Hy-Vee’s commitment to help resolve the issues that affect the health of the ocean, including overfishing and habitat destruction.

Hy-Vee’s proactive Seafood Procurement Policy recognizes that certain types of seafood species are in danger or nearing endangerment status, and are harvested using methods that place unnecessary stress on the environment and other marine life.

In general, the company will do business only with suppliers who harvest or raise seafood in a manner that provide for long-term sustainability of the species while minimizing damage to the environment and other sea life. That means Hy-Vee will only do business with the better-performing seafood suppliers whose catch methods are consistent with the company’s commitment to prevent overfishing and damage to marine habitat.

Seafood is the largest food commodity traded globally, which connects us to the world ocean in other ways. That’s part of the reason Hy-Vee is working proactively behind the scenes on such environmental initiatives such as the Ross Sea Pledge and another to limit fishing in the Bering Sea’s Zhemchug and Pribilof Canyons.

During the global World Oceans Day celebration, hundreds of events were held around the globe to help individuals become part of the solution to the problems facing the ocean. Hy-Vee is demonstrating that every day.

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.

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