Today Hy-Vee, Inc. announces it is launching Fair Trade CertifiedTM Wildfish Salmon in all 245 of its stores this week, making it the first Midwest retailer to do so. The salmon hails from the pristine waters of Bristol Bay, Alaska, and will be available starting this month. Hy-Vee also offers Fair Trade Certified tuna and scallops.
For more than 1,000 years, the people of remote Alaskan fishing communities like Dillingham, Manokotak and Ekuk, have sustainably harvested their catch from the abundance the Nushagak River in Bristol Bay provides. Salmon fishing continues to be a vital part of their livelihoods and culture. Though economic opportunities in the villages are often limited, the associated premium from the sale of Fair Trade Certified salmon has the potential to create significant impact in these communities.
“Hy-Vee continues to work hard to provide our customers with the best-quality seafood that comes from excellent sources,” said Nate Stewart, Hy-Vee’s executive vice president of perishables. “Sourcing Wildfish Salmon on Fair Trade terms gives our customers confidence that the salmon they enjoy from Hy-Vee is sourced responsibly, improving lives and protecting the environment.”
The 2018 season has the largest-ever forecasted return of 20 million Sockeye to the Nushagak along with a strong Coho run that starts in late July and runs into September. Currently 110 fishers from the area will catch all species of wild salmon either by set-net or drift net.
“Fair Trade is all about empowering the people behind our favorite products,” said Julie Kuchepatov, director of seafood at Fair Trade USA. “Hy-Vee’s commitment to increasing its Fair Trade Certified product options shows that Hy-Vee is giving its customers the best available options while benefitting U.S. fishermen and their communities.”
Fair Trade USA’s seafood program is the first of its kind to address both social and environmental challenges in the seafood sector. Standards for marine resources ensure that fisheries are managed legally and responsibly, preventing further overfishing. At the same time, social and human rights standards prohibit forced labor and empower fishermen with better working conditions, improved terms of trade and additional income to invest in their businesses and communities.