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Sustainability & Hawaiian Fresh Seafood

A question we often get from new customers and one that we love to answer, is whether Hawaiian Fresh Seafood products are sustainable.

If you’re looking for a simple yes or no answer, then you’ll be pleased to know the answer is an astounding YES! But if you’re wanting to know a bit more about why and how this is the case, then please read on:

Hawaiian Fresh Seafood Is A Bonafide Seafood Watch Good Choice

The truth is that the science and economics of seafood sustainability are quite complicated. And while consumers are becoming more aware that their choices do have an impact on the environment, it’s not always easy to determine what makes a ‘sustainable seafood choice.’

This is why third parties like Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program have become a go-to resource for chefs and restaurants who want to make responsible sourcing decisions, but feel a bit overwhelmed by all the information and mis-information out there.

Bottom line here is that Seafood Watch is the best known and most influential sustainable seafood advisory list out there, and according to the 2019 science-based recommendations, all of the species we land in our boat-to-table operation are considered to be a “good choice.”

Taking Sustainability A Step Further…

While it’s nice to be recognized as a Seafood Watch good choice, we also want our customers to know that this is just the icing on the cake when it comes to Hawaiian Fresh Seafood’s record and reputation for sustainability.

For the last several years, we have been working directly alongside government agencies like the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), non-government organizations like the Pacific Island Fisheries Group (PIFG), and renowned fishery scientists like Molly Lutcavage of the Large Pelagics Research Center (LPRC), in a variety of capacities all aimed at contributing to a robust, eco-system based approach to sustainably managing our fishery.

Here’s a few projects we’ve been working on that showcase our commitment to sustainability and responsible fishing practices:

Striped Marlin Tagging: From 2017 to 2018 Hawaiian Fresh Seafood, in collaboration with the Pacific Islands Fisheries Group and renowned marine scientist Molly Lutcavage successfully satellite tagged and released three striped marlin caught aboard our vessels in an attempt to collect valuable population data about the species. The data collected throughout this study are helping to piece together a coherent picture of how populations of striped marlin are structured throughout the Pacific and how our fishing efforts are affecting this non-target species. We firmly believe that the more information we have about the ecosystem, the better management choices we can make going forward. That’s why we were some of the first industry representatives to embrace this cooperative research project.

Line Cutter Technology Development: In 2016, Hawaiian Fresh Seafood spear-headed the development of a new line cutting technology aimed at reducing our fishery’s impact on bycatch species of concern. Three years later, this home-grown HFS project is gaining the attention of the NMFS and scientific communities for its potential use as a key bycatch mitigation measure in Pacific longline fisheries. This coming year we look forward to a new round of research & development of this project with input from the scientific, environmental, and management communities. As part of this project’s outreach component, we’ll also be producing a short documentary video that showcases the line cutter’s impacts.

Moving Towards A Sustainable Future For The Resource

When it comes to sustainability and Hawaiian Fresh Seafood, ‘less talk, more action’ has been our approach. That’s not to say that we don’t love to discuss seafood sustainability with our customers and what constitutes a responsible choice. It just means that in practice, we do a lot more than just talk about it.

As a seafood wholesaler that operates our own fleet of fishing boats, we’re in the unique position of being directly accountable for the sustainability of our products as well as our impact on the ecosystem. Ultimately it’s this kind of accountability that paves the way for real seafood sustainability. At Hawaiian Fresh Seafood we invite all our chef and restaurant customers to join us in taking a proactive and enthusiastic approach to a sustainable future of Hawaiian Fresh Seafood.

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