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Press Release

Hannaford enacts sweeping sustainable seafood policy

May. 23, 2012


Breadth of program and sophistication of approach are industry-leading; grocer makes it easy for customers to access responsibly harvested seafood.



For Immediate Release:                                                                                                                        Contact:
May 23, 2012                                                                                                                                           Eric Blom


News Release

Hannaford enacts sweeping sustainable seafood policy covering every seafood product in the supermarket

Breadth of program and sophistication of approach are industry-leading; grocer makes it easy for customers to access responsibly harvested seafood.

SCARBOROUGH, Maine – Hannaford Supermarkets today announced that it has implemented the broadest sustainable seafood policy in the U.S. supermarket industry, covering more than 2,500 products sold across the store, whether those products are fresh, frozen, canned or packaged.

Every seafood product in the supermarket has been documented as sustainably harvested, making Hannaford stores the first and only major supermarkets in the country to accomplish this goal.

“We know where every seafood product in our supermarket comes from – the specific fishery where it was harvested or seafood farm,” said George Parmenter, sustainability manager for Hannaford. “Customers can feel confident that the seafood products at their Hannaford store have been harvested sustainably, in ways that ensure the seafood will be available for generations to come.”

The United Nations estimates that as much as 80 percent of the world’s fisheries are overfished or at their maximum harvest, requiring “effective precautionary management” as a response.   Hannaford requires suppliers to demonstrate that they are harvesting seafood from fisheries that are governed by effective, science-based management plans, a requirement that is driving change in the industry.

Dozens of Hannaford suppliers have altered their harvesting practices, become engaged in fisheries improvement projects and improved their documentation, in order to comply with the sustainable seafood policy.

When a supplier has been unable to document compliance, the product has been removed from shelves. More than 50 products, such as certain varieties of mackerel, clam, snapper, tuna and crabmeat items, have been replaced on Hannaford shelves by sustainably harvested products specifically because suppliers of the original products could not document that the seafood had been responsibly harvested.

Today’s announcement is the culmination of work that began in early 2009 and led to the creation of our sustainable seafood policy in 2010 (available online at, which covers every food product where seafood is the primary ingredient. Under the policy:

  • Wild-caught seafood must come from source fisheries governed by credible, enforceable and science-based management plans.
  •  Farm-raised seafood is certified and reviewed to ensure that production does not harm communities, workers, the environment or human health.

The policy was created and implemented in partnership with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI), a non-profit organization in Portland, Maine that is committed to ocean stewardship, science-based research and education.

“During the last three years, we have spent thousands of hours researching fisheries, identifying the source of products and ensuring that there are credible management plans in place,” said Jen Levin, Sustainable Seafood Program Manager at GMRI. “Hannaford has done the hard work of looking at specific species, in specific geographic areas.  They have adopted a sophisticated, effective approach to sustainability that drives positive change.”

Entire species are not eliminated from consideration. Instead, Hannaford has focused on the current and future health of specific species in particular locations.

“The sustainability program in place at Hannaford and independently assessed by The Gulf of Maine Research Institute is an asset to local fishermen,” said Steve Train, a lobsterman from Long Island, Maine. “Many consumers hear about overfishing and do not realize it is not happening here. Northeast Region fisheries are managed under strict management plans that are required by law to be sustainable. Hannaford and GMRI have become the voice that fishermen did not have.”

By looking at individual fisheries and their management plans, as well as credible third-party certification programs for farm-raised seafood, Hannaford is able to offer the widest variety of sustainable seafood possible.

"Hannaford is blazing a trail with the work the company is doing in third-party certification,” said Peter Redmond, Vice President of Development, Best Aquaculture Practices for The Global Aquaculture Alliance. “The results we are seeing are extremely impressive, and Hannaford’s commitment to the growth of responsibly sourced aquaculture is unwavering.”

Hannaford’s policy ensures that monitoring and compliance measures are in place so that harvest levels are maintained within appropriate limits. If stock sizes fall below target levels, whether due to natural or man-made causes, plans are established to enable rebuilding within a specified timeframe.

Hannaford also prioritizes its sourcing to favor those harvesting methods that have the least impact on the environment and ecosystem. The company works closely with suppliers that also are dedicated to sustainable practices.

“Many retailers have engaged around sustainability in their Fresh cases, but the Frozen and Grocery departments can be much more challenging because products there come from such diverse sources,” said Bill DiMento, Corporate Director of Sustainability at High Liner Foods in Danvers, Mass.  “By including frozen products and so many other items, this policy absolutely puts Hannaford at the top of the list in terms of sustainability among retailers.”

Customers who have questions about the policy or specific products can use Hannaford’s “Ask the Seafood Expert” service through the supermarket’s website at

About Hannaford Supermarkets
Hannaford Supermarkets, based in Scarborough, Maine, operates 181 stores in the Northeast. Stores are located in Maine, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. All Hannaford stores feature Guiding Stars, America’s first storewide nutrition navigation system and most stores have full-service pharmacies. Hannaford employs more than 26,000 associates. Additional information can be found at


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