GLOUCESTER, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--National Fish & Seafood, a U.S.-based division of Pacific Andes Group, formally announced today the launch of a unique project that enables small-scale shrimp farmers to have access to the highest international certification standards for sustainability. The project, which will drive improvements in environmental protection, food security, biosecurity and traceability, was launched at the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) GOAL 2014 conference in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
“We passionately believe that aquaculture has the potential to feed a growing world population with a healthy and affordable source of protein,” said James Baros, Aquaculture and Sustainability Coordinator, National Fish & Seafood. “We are developing a model that encourages all aquafarmers, especially small farmers, to improve culture methods to comply with rigorous environmental and social standards. This provides the opportunity to make healthy, safe, and sustainably raised seafood while providing job opportunities for millions of people in the developing world. A food production system that is truly sustainable environmentally, socially, and economically is a win-win for producers and consumers alike.”
As an industry leader in seafood sustainability, a founding member of the non-profit GAA, and a co-host of the GOAL 2014 conference, National Fish & Seafood has worked together with the GAA to advance responsible aquaculture, and has witnessed first-hand the growth of GAA’s Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) third-party certification program.
Today National Fish & Seafood is affiliated with more than 50 BAP-certified processing plants, spanning three species (shrimp, tilapia and Pangasius) and six countries (China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam). The majority of the shrimp is from farms contracted by National Fish & Seafood through partnerships with local processing plants, allowing the company to control production. The company has also hosted hundreds of hours of responsible shrimp aquaculture seminars in India, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam since 2004. This degree of partnership ensures supply chain integrity and prevents supply disruptions.
Since 2012, National Fish & Seafood has committed at a corporate level to sell only two-, three- and four-star BAP shrimp. However, small family farmers can be marginalized in the sustainability movement.
“Small-scale farmers produce the majority of the world’s aquaculture products. If their production is excluded on the basis of their inability to meet and certify to international standards, then negative impact on the market will be tremendous,” said Jeff Sedacca, President, Shrimp Division, National Fish & Seafood.
The company is collaborating with GAA and the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) on a project to improve farming practices in order to bring small-scale shrimp farmers closer to BAP certification. With the support of GAA, National Fish & Seafood will pilot the first four groups of shrimp farmers — two in India, one in Vietnam and one in Indonesia — tapped to initiate the first Aquaculture Improvement Projects (AIPs) through SFP to document improvements in practices being made, and support a zonal management approach. The aim is to provide market access for more than 120 small-scale farmers.
“Educating and engaging small scale farmers in sustainable practices and compliance with social responsibility are benefits for all of us,” continued Sedacca. “The purpose of our small farm group program is to address the biggest challenge, which is how to engage small farmers in responsible aquaculture, and make it possible for them to continue to participate in the marketplace.”
National Fish & Seafood is also pioneering the concept of Network Integration™ within the global seafood industry. (See the infographic at www.NationalFish.com/sustainability).
“The future of seafood depends on a safe, reliable and consistent supply. National Fish & Seafood’s Network Integration™ differs from the seafood industry standard of vertical integration in that it allows us to own and control product through the entire growth cycle without having to own the farms or processing facilities,” said Sedacca. “This gives us the ability to partner with many more small-scale suppliers and ensures that we have enough safe, high-quality product that meets our standards — even when the overall supply chain is disrupted. It also helps us maintain price predictability and stability.”
National Fish & Seafood is also working with Farmforce to develop state-of-the-art technology for seafood traceability. The software is helping to change the game by using mobile technology to make traceability and compliance an integral part of small-scale farm production. The use of a mobile, cloud-based platform for tracking traceability on the farm presents a new and cutting-edge innovation that will give the company real time access to each farm’s activities.
Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Jeff Sedacca or James Baros please contact Erin Vadala, Warner Communications at firstname.lastname@example.org or 978-468-3076. High-resolution images and additional information are available upon request.
About National Fish & Seafood
National Fish & Seafood, a U.S.-based division of Pacific Andes Group, is a national supplier/partner of seafood to major retailers, distributors, institutional food service and restaurant chains located across the United States. Every year the company sources, processes and distributes more than 11,500 tons of frozen raw fish fillets and shrimp, cooked shrimp and breaded fish and seafood products under its National Fish, Matlaw’s and Schooner brands. Matlaw’s famous stuffed clams are the #1 selling seafood appetizer in the United States.
The vast sourcing and production capabilities of Pacific Andes along with its strong financial backing give National Fish & Seafood the resources to fulfill commercial and retail orders of any size. In addition, the company maintains its own 66,000 square foot, SQF Level 3 certified processing facility located adjacent to its headquarters in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Visit www.NationalFish.com to learn more.