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Roche Bros. has implemented a seafood traceability program with its long-standing seafood partner, Foley Fish, a fourth-generation company based in Boston and New Bedford, Mass.
The “Sea Trace” program provides increased transparency regarding where the independent grocery chain’s fresh seafood comes from and validates that the seafood is sustainably harvested and naturally processed. Customers can scan QR codes for select species to see a photo of the fishing boat, the location fished and even a description of the fishing gear used.
“At Roche Bros. we have always been committed to offering responsibly harvested seafood,” said seafood director Arthur Ackles. “We are now taking steps to better communicate that commitment to our customers, beginning with an unparalleled level of traceability from the store all the way back to the boat.”
Wellesley, Mass.-based Roche Bros. offers a wealth of in-store seafood information, including a sustainability video and a consumer brochure explaining how selections are sustainably fished and naturally processed. Using educational materials from Foley Fish, the family-owned grocer will list the fishery management programs associated with each species offered.
“Fishery management is complex,” explains Foley Fish owner Laura Foley Ramsden, who is also a member of the New England Fishery Management Council. “Just labeling the product red, yellow or green oversimplifies it and doesn’t give the consumer enough information to make a well-considered choice. We want to encourage customers to select U.S.-caught fish with good conscience; knowing that the seafood has been harvested sustainably and handled naturally at the Foley plant to maintain its ‘just caught’ flavor.”
Once harvested, fish headed for Roche Bros. are cleaned and filleted exclusively at Foley Fish, without any chemicals or adulteration. The processor delivers directly to the grocer's stores, which are all in Massachusetts. The direct delivery avoids any warehousing that could compromise the program’s traceability promise.
“We are hopeful that the new Sea Trace program will allow customers to also support local fisherman – many of whom shop in the Roche Bros. stores,” said Ackles. “Using Sea Trace, customers can be confident that they are getting only the freshest, most sustainably sourced and responsibly delivered seafood available. And now, they can trace it back to its origin directly.”