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Sustaining Fisheries

Bumble Bee Seafoods 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 Seafoods 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 occurs, and where management action plans are not in place for returning the fishery to a sustainable state.

Sustainability Leadership

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. The ISSF commitments are science based conservation resolutions and recommendations for fishers and vessel owners and they are supported by the purchasing policies of the ISSF member companies. Click here for a full list and description of conservation commitments.

The credibility of ISSF and its members’ commitments are contingent upon member company transparency and compliance with ISSF resolutions.  A critical component in demonstrating transparency and compliance with ISSF resolutions is the third party audit of member companies.  These audits are conducted by MRAG-Americas and evaluate company performance in meeting ISSF resolutions in a number of critical areas.  Bumble Bee Seafood’s audit results were outstanding with only three minor non-conformances of administrative nature noted.  We believe this is representative of our concerted efforts to ensure all products reaching the market comply with ISSF commitments, we are proud of our results and we will continue to drive to maintain the highest standard!  Click here to view our audit report: Bumble Bee 2016 ISSF Audit.

For more information about ISSF and their proactive initiatives, please visit www.iss-foundation.org.

Shark Finning Policy

Bumble Bee Seafoods 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/knowledge-tools/publications-presentations/conservation-measures-commitments/
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 Seafoods 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.

Bumble Bee® – Increasing sourcing of tuna caught by vessels on the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) ProActive Vessel Register (PVR)

Bumble Bee views the ISSF PVR as an effective, credible and verifiable way to identify those purse seine vessels that are taking meaningful sustainability efforts to improve responsible practices in tuna fishing and that are in compliance with ISSF Multi-Annual Commitments.

Approximately 94% of our lightmeat purchases in 2015 came from purse seiners listed on the PVR (based on the January 2016 PVR list).  Note that all purchases from large scale purse seiner trips starting after January 1, 2016 will come from vessels on the PVR.  We believe we have played a supportive role in increasing PVR participation as we worked directly with our ISSF partners and suppliers in 2015 to encourage fleets from which we commonly source to join the PVR.



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