BJ’s Wholesale Club announced its commitment to members and the environment by implementing a new sustainable seafood policy ensuring all seafood products sold in BJ’s Wholesale Clubs are sourced from seafood suppliers identified as sustainable or on track to meet sustainability standards by 2014. In partnership with leading non-profit organizations including Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP, www.sustainablefish.org), the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC, www.msc.org) and the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA, gaalliance.org), the company is taking measureable steps to safeguard the ocean’s natural resources while continuing to provide consumers the highest quality fish and seafood available.
To reach this goal, BJ’s is working with new and existing suppliers to find and assist in implementing methods that protect aquatic species and habitats. The company’s new seafood guideline for wild-caught fish ensures fish are caught legally and that suppliers remain within their catch quotas. Additionally, the guidelines encourage fisheries and suppliers to use up-to-date technology that makes harvesting less destructive to other aquatic species, such as dolphins and turtles, and less damaging to ocean habitats, including coral reefs.
For farmed fish, suppliers must limit the use of chemicals, provide fish plenty of room to swim and implement safeguards that prevent farmed fish from escaping or affecting wild fish. All BJ’s seafood partners from fresh fish to frozen “value-added fish,” including fish sticks and breaded/seasoned fillets, must take steps to source seafood in accordance with BJ’s guidelines.
“Our goal is to continue to provide safe, quality seafood at an excellent value for years to come and without compromise,” said Scott Williams Manager of Product Development and Quality Assurance for BJ’s Wholesale Club. “As a large volume buyer of seafood, it is BJ’s responsibility to help protect the oceans and waterways and have a minimal impact on the long-term health of our ecosystems.”
BJ’s has already implemented a number of quality improvements to its seafood program including DNA testing on all fresh and frozen fish, chemical free seafood that does not include artificial ingredients including sodium tripolyphosphate which is often used to retain water in shrimp, and moving tilapia production to a modern farm that meets GAA standards. Additionally, all canned fish sold at BJ’s are required to comply with the International Sustainability Foundation Guidelines (ISF).
“BJ’s sustainable seafood program is commendable, and is an important step in improving the health of global fisheries and ensuring seafood availability for future generations,” said Dick Jones, Director of Major Buyer Engagement for Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP).” SFP is pleased to partner with BJ’s and assist them in evaluating and improving fisheries and fish farms by using the most current science and practices that are recognized as the best in the industry.”
The National Fisheries Institute (NFI), which is committed to sustainable seafood management, also recognizes BJ’s commitment to sustainable seafood.
“Implementing a sustainable seafood program and encouraging responsible aquaculture positions BJ’s Wholesale Club as a leader in the retail industry,” said John Connelly, President of National Fisheries Institute “Sustainability programs like the one instituted by BJ’s Wholesale Club protect our ocean’s most precious resources and helps ensure that consumers can enjoy nutritious, healthful fish for future generations.”