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Giant Food of Landover, Md. and the New England Aquarium are not only celebrating their decade-long partnership to develop a sustainable seafood policy, but also World Oceans Day, a United Nations-sanctioned occasion that tomorrow will unite hundreds of aquariums, zoos, museums, conservation organizations and individuals to participate in fun, inspirational and educational events to share ocean conservation strategies.
“Giant was one of the first grocery stores in the country to partner with an outside expert resource to become educated in the best practices of seafood sustainability,” noted Giant Food VP of public affairs and community relations Kim Brown. “We knew it was important to put science-based research behind our policy; that’s why partnering with the New England Aquarium seemed like such a great fit.”
The Ahold USA division’s sustainable seafood policy includes working only with reputable suppliers; actively promoting items from well-managed fisheries and farms, among them Pacific longline-caught cod, Alaska salmon, Arctic char and tilapia; and communicating with shoppers, associates and shareholders about efforts to improve sustainability, such as online and through an annual corporate responsibility report.
“For the last 10 years we’ve worked with Giant to evaluate their seafood purchases and provide research and recommendations on ways to make their sustainability seafood program even stronger,” said Lydia Bergen, director of conservation at the Boston-based New England Aquarium. “World Oceans Day is a great opportunity to educate everyone about how essential the oceans are to us and how we can make a difference — from choosing sustainable seafood to reducing the use of plastics to keep them out of the ocean.”
The entities’ pioneering collaboration has led to positive changes in the seafood industry as a whole, they believe. “More of our vendor partners realize the need for the improvement of fisheries and aquaculture,” observed Brown. “We are seeing more of our seafood supply become certified by organizations that put environmental parameters into their requirements and more sharing of best practices to help work toward applying those practices across the board.”