Did you know that some species of tuna can swim up to 43 miles per hour? Tuna migrate vast distances, crossing oceans around the world to feed and repopulate. Tuna also cross the globe to end up on our plates! The fish accounts for 8% of all globally traded seafood and are one of the most commercially valuable fish on the planet. In fact, tuna represents more than one-third of the total seafood consumed in the US. It’s no wonder the United Nations deemed May 2 World Tuna Day. A day to celebrate these magnificent fish, their contribution to food security across the globe, and the need to conserve tuna fisheries.
Hy-Vee acknowledges the importance of these fish and has committed to improving its sourcing to drive positive change in global tuna supply chains. In 2017 Hy-Vee expanded its Seafood Procurement Policy to include shelf-stable tuna and in 2018 announced its achievement to transition 100 percent of its private label shelf-stable tuna products to responsible sources. Now, Hy-Vee is voicing its dedication to supporting a more transparent tuna trade through examining the practice of transshipment at sea.
What is Transshipment at Sea?
Transshipment at sea is broadly defined as the transfer of fish, supplies, or other cargo between ships. When properly regulated and monitored, transshipment lowers operational costs while reducing the amount of time needed for seafood products to reach consumers. However, at-sea transshipment is often conducted on the high seas where monitoring and oversight is minimal, resulting in increased risk of unsustainable or unethical activities such as illegal fishing or labor abuses.
What is Hy-Vee Doing About Transshipment at Sea?
On May 14, 2019, Hy-Vee expanded its Seafood Procurement Policy yet again to include best practices for at-sea transshipment of tuna. The new policy, developed in partnership with FishWise, a nonprofit sustainable seafood consultancy, demonstrates Hy-Vee’s ongoing commitment to provide customers with environmentally sustainable and socially responsible tuna. The policy includes specific components to support increased monitoring and transparency, improve worker protections, combat illegal fishing practices, and encourage oversight by fishery management organizations.
“Hy-Vee’s at-sea transshipment policy sets an important precedent for seafood buyers to follow and exemplifies the positive impact retailers can have on global fishing practices,” said Jen Cole, project director of social responsibility at FishWise. “Hy-Vee has been clear about its efforts to improve traceability and social responsibility within its seafood supply chains and this is another leap in that direction.”
The journey of a tuna fish – from the ocean to your plate – is complex and includes many people and companies along the way. Hy-Vee is dedicated to sourcing tuna from transparent supply chains that support the responsible management of tuna fisheries for generations to come.