In 2009, Kroger began a partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). This partnership and continuing assessment work helps us better understand the sustainability of fisheries where we source our seafood. By 2015, our goal was to source 100% of our top 20 wild-caught species (by volume) from fisheries that are Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified, in MSC full assessment, or engaged in a comprehensive fishery improvement project. At the end of our initial commitment period, 86% of our top 20 wild caught fresh and frozen species by volume meet these criteria. Between 2010 and 2014, Kroger significantly increased its purchase volume of seafood from MSC certified or full assessment fisheries by almost 200%, outpacing the growth in overall seafood procurement. We believe this makes Kroger a leader in sales of MSC certified seafood.

Fishery Improvement Projects

Kroger additionally increased its procurement from fisheries in improvement projects by 119%. Comprehensive FIPs offers a step-wise approach for fisheries to reach the MSC standard. This collaborative effort brings together fishers, the private sector, government, researchers, and NGOs to improve the environmental performance of a fishery. This approach ensures that FIP activities are aligned with regionally specific interests.

By working with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to support comprehensive FIPs, Kroger is helping improve the health of the world's oceans and ensure the long-term viability of fisheries and livelihoods of fishers around the globe.

Kroger-Supported Fishery Improvement Projects

Kroger has supported 18 fishery improvement projects (mapped above) since 2010 through sourcing, letters to key stakeholders and/or direct funding.

"Since the launch of its commitment in 2009, Kroger has proven to be a leading U.S. retailer in driving market transition toward sustainable seafood. By striving to ensure sustainability within its supply chain, Kroger has provided the support needed to move fisheries around the world toward sustainable practices and MSC certification. This important work helps to establish resilient fisheries that contribute to more sustainable business, preserve livelihoods of fishers and others in the fishing industry, and positively impact the health of the oceans on a global scale."
Caroline Tippett, WWF-U.S. Director of Seafood Engagement

Sometimes, however, there is consensus and science that a species should not be fished and needs time to recover. In those cases, we will not source these species from areas at risk. Therefore Kroger does not source shark, blue fin tuna, marlin, skates, rays, parrot fish and monk fish. We listen to and learn from NGOs with expertise and experience in these areas. We rely on expertise from many sources and science to guide our sourcing decisions. We are proud of the work we are doing as a result of our partnerships and informed buying processes.

Aquaculture (Farm Raised)

Farm raised seafood is a healthy alternative too. Since 2012, all of our farm-raised corporate brand seafood suppliers achieved and maintain the Global Aquaculture Alliance's (GAA) Best Aquaculture Practice (BAP) level 2 certification. This third-party audit ensures high standards for environmental practices, food safety, quality, and traceability. For more information, please visit http://www.gaalliance.org.

Canned Tuna

All of our corporate branded canned tuna is sourced from companies who participate in the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF). The ISSF was formed in 2009 to create science-based solutions for tuna fisheries worldwide. We are committed to continuously evaluating improvement opportunities in this area.

Ecuador Mahi Mahi FIP

Mahi mahi is a highly migratory fish species found throughout the world’s oceans, including off the coast of Ecuador. WWF is working in collaboration with the Ecuadorian government and the private sector to help improve the long-term sustainability of the fishery. Through the creation of a FIP, WWF and its collaborators are working to move the fishery in a step-wise approach towards MSC certification.

To take the steps necessary to move toward certification, the collaborating groups are working together to implement changes including conducting new research on the mahi mahi population to determine how much fishing is appropriate and continually working with fishermen on essential gear modifications to help reduce interactions with sea turtles. To date, a number of key accomplishments have been achieved, including:

  • Development of a FIP Action Plan in January 2010 that outlines improvements that need to be made so that the fishery performs at a level consistent with the MSC standard;
  • Ecuador’s adoption of a National Plan of Action (NPOA) for the Conservation and Management of Mahi Mahi in March 2011, which identifies activities that the government will pursue as part of the FIP to promote more sustainable management practices;
  • Development of a strategic research plan for mahi mahi to answer science and management questions about the fishery;
  • Design of a mahi mahi fishery observer program; and
  • Establishment in 2011 of an annual seasonal closure of the mahi mahi fishery to protect the mahi mahi population.
  • © Subsecretaría de Recursos Pesqueros, Ecuador
    Mahi mahi in the eastern Pacific Ocean, caught off the coast of Ecuador
  • © Subsecretaría de Recursos Pesqueros, Ecuador
    Fishers preparing their longline gear before starting a fishing trip
  • © Subsecretaría de Recursos Pesqueros, Ecuador
    Fishermen preparing their longline to incorporate a float to decrease turtle entanglements
  • © Subsecretaría de Recursos Pesqueros, Ecuador
    With Kroger’s support, WWF is helping improve fishing practices on the water, helping the fishery perform at a level consistent with Marine Stewardship Council standards.
  • © Subsecretaría de Recursos Pesqueros, Ecuador
    By supporting the Ecuadorian mahi mahi fishery on their journey to MSC certification, Kroger is helping support transformational change.

Indonesia Tuna FIP

The Indonesia tuna fishery catches a significant portion of the global tuna catch and provides an important source of income for the country. WWF is working in collaboration with the private sector and the Indonesian government to help improve the long-term sustainability of the fishery. Through the creation of a fishery improvement project, WWF and its collaborators are working to move the fishery in a step-wise approach towards MSC certification. WWF and its collaborators are working to implement a FIP Action Plan which includes the following:

  • Developing a tuna management plan as a blueprint for sustainable management of the Indonesia tuna fisheries;
  • Increasing fishery-related research to inform stock assessments and gathering data related to bycatch and endangered, threatened, and protected species interactions; and
  • Strengthening compliance of fishing regulations.

Although implementation of these fishery improvement projects are expected to take a number of years, their completion will not only achieve transformational change on the water, but will also ensure the long-term viability of these fisheries for generations to come.

WWF President "Kroger’s commitment to sourcing sustainable seafood plays an important role in protecting the world’s oceans. By supporting fisheries on the journey toward MSC certification, Kroger is helping to lead the industry to more sustainable seafood sourcing practices."
-Bill Fox, Vice President of Fisheries for WWF-US

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