Wild-caught seafood is harvested from our lakes, rivers or oceans. The sustainability and environmental impact of commercial fishing operations depends on factors including how the fish was caught, the health of the population being fished, and how effectively the fishery is being managed. The New England Aquarium’s scientists consider the following factors when they determine the environmental responsibility of the seafood we offer:
Populations of fish, crabs, lobsters and other marine animals that inhabit a specific geographic area are called stocks. Stocks that are abundant and whose populations are not decreasing because of overfishing are most likely to be healthy and sustainable into the future.
Many times, good stock health is the result of effective fishery management practices, which include factors such as setting limits on fishing, performing thorough scientific research, and gathering detailed information on what species (and how much) are being caught.
Fishing gear and techniques
Commercial fishing operations use many types of fishing gear and techniques to capture the seafood we eat. All fishing gear has some impact on the environment, but how much of an impact depends heavily on what type of gear is used, where the gear is used, how the gear is used, as well as the inclusion of any special modifications designed to reduce habitat impact.
Commercial fishing often results in the accidental capture of fish and other sea creatures, known as bycatch. In some cases, this bycatch can include threatened or endangered species, such as marine mammals, sea birds, and sea turtles. This bycatch is sometimes reduced, or even eliminated, with modifications that allow these species to escape or avoid capture.
All these factors are considered when evaluating the sustainability of a particular fishery.
We carry many varieties of ocean-friendly wild-caught seafood
By working with the team of experts at the New England Aquarium, we are striving to do our part to protect our oceans and ensure the availability of tasty, ocean-friendly seafood for years to come. We are working with our vendor partners through the guidance of the New England Aquarium to make improvements and ultimately achieve a reputable eco-certification.
Some of the ocean-friendly wild-caught seafood choices you’ll find at Stop & Shop:
Aquaculture is the process of farming animals or plants in lakes, rivers, ponds, and the ocean. Fish farming occurs on almost every continent around the world and is one of the fastest growing food production sectors globally. Farm-raised products account for nearly half of all seafood produced and as demand for seafood continues to increase, aquaculture will be critical for meeting that demand.
All aquaculture systems have an impact on the surrounding environment, with some operations having less of an impact than others. Experts at the New England Aquarium help Stop & Shop seek out sustainable, farmed seafood products by evaluating the impacts of fish farming operations based on these factors:
Like farms on land, seafood farms create waste products. How a farm deals with these waste products helps to determine their impact on the environment. Farms that incorporate environmentally responsible management practices can minimize waste and reduce environmental impact.
Feed use is a major issue in aquaculture. Aquaculture feed is made up of many ingredients and often includes fishmeal or fish oil produced from wild fisheries. Using efficient feeding practices and minimizing the use of wild fish as feed for farmed fish are important factors considered when evaluating aquaculture farms.
Farm-raised seafood can be produced in a variety of ways including suspended ropes, land-based ponds and tanks, and marine or freshwater net pens. All aquaculture systems have an impact on the surrounding environment, with some operations having less of an impact than others. The New England Aquarium’s experts evaluate different forms of production and the associated environmental impact when determining the environmental responsibility of farmed seafood sources.
The overall health of the species raised on a farm is important. Healthier fish and shellfish lead to more efficient farms, as they tend to grow faster and feed more effectively. Unhealthy farmed fish and shellfish can cause severe economic loss, require chemical and antibiotic treatments, and potentially spread disease to wild populations. Aquaculture farms can protect fish and human health by being proactive in disease monitoring and management.
Impact on wild species
Habitat alteration, fish escapes, and predator controls are all ways that aquaculture can impact other species. Fish that escape from aquaculture farms can affect wild populations by transferring diseases or breeding with native populations. Good site planning, supervision and management, and effective response to escapes can minimize aquaculture’s impact on other species. All these factors are considered when evaluating the sustainability and ocean-friendliness of a fish farm.
We carry many varieties of ocean-friendly farmed seafood
At Stop & Shop, we understand that the aquaculture industry must grow in an environmentally responsible way. By working with the team of experts at the New England Aquarium and our suppliers, we are able to offer our customers products from farms that are committed to improving their practices to ensure healthy ecosystems and working toward a credible eco-certification.