Publix unrolls its own sustainability sticker for seafood

Publix promotes fish caught without damage to the environment, wild populations.
Fresh seafood is on display during the grand opening of the Publix on USF's campus in 2018. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times (2003)]
Fresh seafood is on display during the grand opening of the Publix on USF's campus in 2018. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times (2003)]
Published July 8
Updated July 8

Publix is adding new labels to its seafood in an attempt to appeal to environmentally conscious shoppers, the Lakeland chain announced Monday.

Publix says the new labeling system allows shoppers "to make informed, responsible choices about their seafood."

Conservation groups consider sustainable fishing operations to be ones that do not deplete wild populations. It also used to describe fish farms that limit damage to the environment.

"This partnership allows us to identify where change is needed the most and empowers Publix to invest in fisheries to help them gain necessary resources to improve their sustainability practices," Publix spokeswoman Maria Brous said in a statement.

Publix collaborated with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership and Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative to create guidelines to determine which fish and crustaceans get a special label.

The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, a non-profit, works with both retailers and suppliers. The group created a fishery improvement project in 2011 with a wholesaler to ensure fewer sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico were getting trapped in Pink Shrimp nets. That's a measure Publix also has supported.

"(Publix) has done a lot of very impressive work behind the scenes over the last 10 years toward improving the sustainability of its seafood offerings," said the partnership's spokesman, Sean Murphy. "It’s great to see Publix now promoting these products to its customers.”

Discount grocer Aldi named the Sustainable Fishers Partnership as an adviser in its own fish-buying policies. Whole Foods says it seeks out suppliers that are vigilant against over-fishing. Both rely on third-party certification, denoted by the Marine Steward Council's blue check mark. The organization monitors seafood suppliers to check whether fish they sell meets environmental standards.

At Publix, special labels will appear beside price tags at the full-service seafood counter and on the shelf tags of the frozen seafood case.

Contact Sara DiNatale at sdinatale@tampabay.com. Follow @sara_dinatale.

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