Admin

Posted by

Patrick Whittle (AP) Patrick Whittle (AP)
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Share

Seafood joins fair trade revolution, a scallop at a time

Rate this item
(0 votes)
In this undated photo provided by Christopher Cary, Rick Elliott of Bristol Seafood in Portland, Maine, examines a bag of scallops at auction in New Bedford, Mass. Fair trade certification status is now gaining in prominence with seafood in the U.S., where interest is growing in the story behind the fish and shellfish people consume. In this undated photo provided by Christopher Cary, Rick Elliott of Bristol Seafood in Portland, Maine, examines a bag of scallops at auction in New Bedford, Mass. Fair trade certification status is now gaining in prominence with seafood in the U.S., where interest is growing in the story behind the fish and shellfish people consume. (AP Photo/Christopher Cary)

PORTLAND — Fair trade coffee, bananas and ... scallops? Yes, very soon.

Fair trade certification status, which is conferred by independent groups to denote environmental sustainability and fair working conditions, has been around for years. But it’s just now on the rise among seafood products in the U.S., where consumer interest in the story behind the fish and shellfish they eat is growing.

Certification of seafood products, including tuna and shrimp, began in 2014, and the volume of imports of such products grew more than 350 percent last year to more than 1.2 million pounds, said Fair Trade USA, a California-based nonprofit group. The first company to offer fair trade seafood harvested from U.S. waters will have scallops on the market this month.

The company, Bristol Seafood of Portland, is looking to capitalize on the growing interest in authenticity of seafood, said its president, Peter Handy.

“There’s a certain sanctity to food when it comes to the story about it,” he said. “It tastes better the more you know.”

Independent groups, including Fair Trade USA, provide certifications to a host of products that people buy in stores, ranging from fruit and nuts to home goods. The certification is most commonly associated with coffee, which launched the fair trade movement in the 1990s.

To achieve certification, companies need to submit to an audit and interviews to make sure the food is produced with fair working conditions and environmental stewardship along the supply chain. Packaged products can then bear a “Fair Trade Certified” seal, which carries a price premium.

Fair Trade USA currently certifies shrimp from Mexico, yellowfin tuna from Indonesia, and skipjack and yellowfin tuna from Maldives. It is the only group currently certifying seafood as fair trade, representatives for the nonprofit said.

Interest in the seafood supply chain has grown since an Associated Press investigation of slave labor conditions in Thailand’s shrimp fishery, said Ashley Apel, senior manager of the seafood program for Fair Trade USA. Even before that, a 2014 study by a pair of economists from the University of Kentucky said more than 80 percent of consumers were at least somewhat influenced by labels that tell the story of seafood.

“It was the right place and right time to show that the seafood industry needs a fair trade certification,” Apel said.

The standards for achieving the certification for seafood products focus on management of fish stocks and fishing habitat, as well as the wages and working conditions of the fishermen and others in the supply chain. Steps must be taken to eliminate forced labor and human trafficking, and workers must have the freedom to organize. At the same time, there must be documentation of things like proper waste management and protection of ecosystems, Fair Trade USA’s materials state.

Fair Trade USA is one of a handful of major groups involved in certifying food products, with another prominent one other being Germany-based Fairtrade International.

They’re banking on chefs and restaurants getting excited about the products. Barton Seaver, a chef and author in Freeport, said fair trade seafood is too new to be familiar to many restaurateurs but is part of seafood’s future.

“It’s currently in its infancy, but I think the products they are working with will quickly prove the model, and the value that it can offer,” he said.

The economic, environmental and humans rights impacts of fair trade labels are the subjects of debate and academic study.

A 2014 study published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives stated that “there is overwhelming evidence that Fair Trade-certified producers do receive higher prices than conventional farmers for their products.” The evidence for environmental protection and economic security of workers was more mixed, but benefits to both were observed, the same study said.

Jason Potts, a senior associate with the International Institute for Sustainable Development located in Montreal, said the question of “are these things actually working?” remains a difficult one to answer.

“We’re attempting to answer this question. My message to the world is we need more impact research, and more data. Better data,” he said.

One of the big incentives for fishermen to participate in fair trade certification, Apel said, is that sales generate “fair trade premiums,” which are used for community development projects where harvesters live. The nonprofit delivered more than $200,000 of these premiums to fishermen last year.

Erik Orman, who owns a pair of New Bedford scallop boats that harvest shellfish that will be certified fair trade, said he envisions the premium money being reinvested in fisheries science programs. The certification, he said, will also give the scallops an edge in the marketplace.

“For the consumer, they are socially conscious and able to choose the food they eat based on the criteria that are important to them,” he said.

Last modified on Wednesday, 19 April 2017 10:52

44 comments

  • Comment Link Gena Tuesday, 20 February 2018 17:15 posted by Gena

    Tea tree oil can be utilized as a remedy for head lice.

  • Comment Link Trailkyb Saturday, 17 February 2018 07:44 posted by Trailkyb

    buy generic cialis online
    lowest viagra prices cialis levitra
    http://cialisredp.com
    cialis brand name online 20mg
    buy generic cialis

  • Comment Link Triedgeb Thursday, 15 February 2018 22:32 posted by Triedgeb

    buy viagra online
    does viagra work on women
    http://viagraabdmr.com
    viagra active ingredient
    buy viagra

  • Comment Link Pustomeb Thursday, 15 February 2018 03:48 posted by Pustomeb

    buy generic viagra
    do you need prescription for viagra
    http://viagraabdmr.com
    viagra u
    cheap viagra online

  • Comment Link whaginyb Wednesday, 14 February 2018 22:17 posted by whaginyb

    generic viagra online
    viagra 30 mg
    http://viagraabdmr.com
    what happens if a woman takes viagra
    viagra without prescription

  • Comment Link nipDoosyb Wednesday, 14 February 2018 14:22 posted by nipDoosyb

    generic cialis
    canada cialis generic sudden hearing loss cialis
    http://cialisampsl.com
    uk generic cialis tadalafil
    generic cialis online

  • Comment Link nipDoosyb Wednesday, 14 February 2018 03:12 posted by nipDoosyb

    buy generic cialis online
    buy generic cialis in shanghai
    http://cialisampsl.com
    cheap cialis australia
    generic cialis

  • Comment Link rigobigob Tuesday, 13 February 2018 19:55 posted by rigobigob

    cialis coupon
    otc cialis pills
    http://cialisampsl.com
    generic cialis canada
    buy generic cialis online

  • Comment Link mugfluex Tuesday, 13 February 2018 06:37 posted by mugfluex

    viagra cialis generic sildenafil citrate
    cialis
    ciali
    buy cialis online
    us pharmacy cialis generic

  • Comment Link Usehoca Monday, 12 February 2018 21:36 posted by Usehoca

    us cialis pharmacy
    cheap cialis online
    buy cheap generic cialis
    buy cialis
    buy generic cialis

<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 Next > End >>

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated.
Basic HTML code is allowed.

Advertisements

Website CMS and Development by Links Online Marketing, LLC, Bangor Maine