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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, 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.

GOAL: To source all of our seafood products sustainably. What this means to us is:

  • Fish comes from a fishery where the amount of fish being caught and the number of fish in that fishery are such that future generations will be able to enjoy the seafood as well.
  • We know where the fish came from (back to the fishery and in many cases the vessel), how it was caught, where it was processed and how it got to you.
  • That the fish was harvested legally.
  • That the fishery is managed using science and data and takes into account any impact of fishing on related species and ecosystems.
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 engage third party experts to assess our various fisheries to determine if they are being managed in a sustainable manner. 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.

Bumble Bee Seafoods 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, 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. is also a Food Marketing Institute Sustainable Seafood Working Group supplier advisor.

In 2009, 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.

For calendar year 2019, our tuna purchases from various categories are shown in the tables below. The percentages are for skipjack, yellowfin and albacore combined with percentages converted to round ton equivalents. Bumble Bee intends to increase the percentage of fish purchased from MSC certified fisheries, fish in FIPs, and from ISSF participating companies over time.

Category Tuna Purchases % of Round Ton Equivalents
MSC Certified Fisheries 1%
Comprehensive FIPs on Fisheryprogress.org Grade A-C or in Initial Listing 13%
Comprehensive FIPs on Fisheryprogress.org Grade D-E 0%
None of the Above 86%
Category Tuna Purchases % of Round Ton Equivalents
ISSF Participating Companies 45%
ISSF Data Check Companies 0%
Direct from Vessels 0%
None of the Above 55%

Note that while not all of our tuna purchases came from ISSF Participating companies, we ensure all the tuna we purchase does meet ISSF Conservation Measures and Commitments as verified annually via third party audit. 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 are consistently outstanding. 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 2019 ISSF Audit.

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 fishing vessels that are taking meaningful sustainability efforts to improve responsible practices in tuna fishing and that are in compliance with ISSF Multi-Annual Commitments.

All purchases from large scale purse seiner trips since January 1, 2016 come from vessels on the PVR.

In 2019, approximately 48% of our longline albacore purchases came from vessels listed on the ISSF PVR. We have, and will continue to play, a supportive role in increasing PVR participation among longline vessels as we have worked directly with our suppliers over the past couple of years to drive PVR enrollment by fleets from which we source. Longline vessels in our two longline Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) are listed on the PVR. We are committed to increasing our percentage of purchases from longliners on the PVR by expanding FIPs and corresponding PVR participation and through selective procurement practices.

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).

Global Ghost Gear Initiative

In 2018, Bumble Bee joined the Global Ghost Gear Initiative. The Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) is a cross-sectoral alliance committed to ensuring safer, cleaner oceans by driving economically viable and sustainable solutions to the problem of ghost fishing gear globally. Bumble Bee supports efforts to reduce the impact of fishing gear in our oceans. As part of our commitments to ISSF conservation measures, we source skipjack and yellowfin from purse seiners who utilize non-entangling Fish Aggregating Devices (FAD) designs. Additionally, ISSF is heavily engaged in at- sea trials aimed at developing effective bio-degradeable FADs. Our plant in Blacks Harbour, Canada has engaged with the Fundy North Fishermen’s Association on a number of issues including ghost gear and coastal clean ups at the South Wolf Island and Connors Nature Trail. We have provided vessels and crews to transport volunteers to and from islands along with waste disposal of trash picked up. Additionally, we donated some critical habitat shoreland and a few islands to Nature Trust of New Brunswick

Bumble Bee is also a proud supporter of the Science Center for Marine Fisheries http://scemfis.org/. SCeMFiS is a National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC). SCeMFiS provides academic research products essential for the sustainable management of shellfish and finfish resources seeking to simultaneously achieve the goals of sustainable fish and shellfish stocks and sustainable fish and shellfish fisheries.

A note from our CEO about COVID-19x
Bumble Bee Seafood Logo

The coronavirus has changed life, as we knew it, forever. Most people will be touched in some way by the pandemic either physically, emotionally or financially. We’ve all heard heart-breaking stories from around the world about lives that have been lost and severe financial hardships caused by the sudden shutdown of so many businesses.

On behalf of all our team members around the globe, we extend our deepest sympathies to all that are struggling through personal challenges, whatever they may be, and we offer our sincerest gratitude to all the heroes who are helping those in need.

We’d also like to add how important it is for everyone to continue to do their part to slow the spread. Physical distancing is critical, and we must all take this seriously. We use the word “physical” because staying away from people in a physical way does not mean we should be neglecting the importance of social interactions, compassion and patience.

We are one of the largest providers of shelf-stable seafood and it is our honor and our responsibility to do our part, in every way we can, to help to keep people fed with affordable, nutritious protein. To that end, we’re continuing to run our factories in the US and Canada while our partners around the world continue to provide supply.

We take great pride in being a “people-first” company, so our decision to continue operations is done with utmost concern for the people making it possible. We’ve enhanced our safety measures to meet or exceed CDC guidelines and we have increased wages in our factories to assist employees dealing with the incremental costs of working and new, unexpected demands on their households.

We also take great pride in producing healthy, nutritious and safe products for our customers. Please know the manufacturing practices we follow year-round protect our both employees and the products they produce. Our facilities have very few people-to-product interactions, all products are sterilized in a high temperature oven and then packaged in highly automated production lines.

Beyond Bumble Bee, we’re continually looking for ways to extend our “people first” approach to make a meaningful impact. With so many people in need, we know this effort is more important than ever. We’re starting by donating more than $1 million in product to food banks in both the US and in Canada. And we will be looking for more opportunities to make a positive difference in the days to come.

Finally, I want to thank you, our loyal and new customers, for your support. We hope you find the recipes on our website helpful and easy to prepare. I also want to send a sincere thank you to our Bumble Bee Team and our valued supply partners around the world for their tireless efforts, particularly those working in sales, manufacturing, distribution and all our support roles, ensuring we can keep store and pantry shelves stocked.

Please continue to do your part to keep yourselves and your families safe during this truly unprecedented time.

With Gratitude,
CEO, Bumble Bee Seafoods