Bumble Bee’s primary business is in seafood. We support global policies and management initiatives that ensure the long-term sustainability of these resources.
For more than one hundred years, we’ve set the standard in quality seafood. And as an industry leader, Bumble Bee is also committed to leading the way in preserving the world’s aquatic resources for future generations.
No single aspect is more important, or more central, to Bumble Bee’s sustainability program than ensuring the responsible harvesting and management of fisheries from which we source—this is not only important to the environment and our consumers, but for our business as well. Our corporate sustainability platform adopted in 2005 has become a key focal point driving internal behavior and how we conduct business across the globe.
Our Scientific Approach
Science is at the core of our approach to fisheries management and independent, science-based assessments of stocks are a key component in ensuring the sourcing of sustainable seafood. We have engaged third party experts to assess our various fisheries to determine if they are being managed in a sustainable manner. Our assessments are based on the scientific stock assessments completed by various national and international research bodies and they encompass a number of criteria including:
- Assessment of the target stock status.
- Assessment of the impact on non-target stocks and related eco-systems.
- Review of on-going fisheries management platforms currently in place.
- Review of enforcement practices and compliance measures.
- Development of recommendations to improve fishery management practices.
We have completed sustainability assessments of the four main fisheries (tuna, salmon, sardines and clams) that make up the largest percentage of the shelf stable seafood we sell domestically and are completing assessments for other, smaller fisheries in which we participate.
Bumble Bee ceases participation in fisheries where overfishing is occurring and the fishery is overfished and management actions are not in place to return the fishery to a sustainable state.
In addition to our internal efforts, Bumble Bee actively participates in a broad range of fishery management organizations. These organizations include the four Regional Fishing Management Organizations (RFMO’s) for tuna, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, National Fisheries Institute Tuna Council, and the Fishery Council of Canada. Bumble Bee is also a Food Marketing Institute Sustainable Seafood Working Group supplier advisor.
In 2009, Bumble Bee became a proud founder of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) . ISSF is a global partnership among scientists, tuna processors representing more than 75% of the world’s shelf stable tuna production, and WWF, the global conservation organization. This unique combination of industry, science and environmental community is committed to driving positive change in tuna fisheries through direct action of its participants.
ISSF mission: Undertake science-based initiatives for the long term sustainability of tuna stocks, reduction of by-catch and promotion of ecosystem health. The strategy and focus of the ISSF addresses head-on the major sustainability challenges facing the global fishery through applied science, advocacy and direct action.
Since it’s 2009 inception, ISSF and it’s participants have committed to a number of actions aimed at ensuring long term sustainability of tuna including: agreement to traceability standards from capture to plate; not sourcing tuna caught using large scale drift nets or from IUU fishing; sourcing from boats with unique vessel identifiers; funding and supporting a multitude of sea turtle conservation projects; funding at-sea research programs to mitigate bycatch in purse seine fishing.
In the summer of 2011, ISSF released the “Make the Commitment” global improvement plan which calls for best practices and commitments across purse seine, longline and pole and line fisheries that we believe can eliminate half the discarded bycatch in purse seine fisheries by 2014.
Shark Finning Policy
Bumble Bee Foods is against the practice of shark finning (retaining shark fins and discarding the remaining carcasses while at sea) in global fisheries. The practice is inconsistent with our company values, is wasteful and is in conflict with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries as well as with numerous other resolutions of marine organizations calling for minimizing waste and discards.
Our policy is to ensure that no tuna we source comes from companies that do not have a policy prohibiting the practice of shark finning, from vessels that have been found to have engaged in shark finning by a Regional Fisheries Management Organization or national authority for two years following the date of the most recent finding, or from operators that do not retain, land and report all sharks caught (except for species that are prohibited by national law or RFMO regulations, or those individuals released alive).
The majority of our tuna is already supplied by companies who, like Bumble Bee, are partners in the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) and thereby share the shark finning policy resolution commitment effective for all partners June 1, 2012. http://iss-foundation.org/2012/02/01/resolution-by-issf-to-prohibit-shark-finning/
For our non-ISSF tuna suppliers, we have conveyed to them that compliance with this resolution and our associated commitment is a requirement to continue business with us effective September 1, 2012.
Bumble Bee Foods is on the forefront of tackling this important issue. Our brand is one of the oldest seafood brands in North America, having been established in 1899. We are confident that our leadership and our actions will ensure the long term sustainability of the fisheries that we depend on.