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Editor's Note: Sustainability issues challenge buyers

Fiona Robinson, Associate Publisher/Editor - Fiona Robinson, Associate Publisher/Editor
Fiona Robinson, Associate Editor/Publisher
November 05, 2011

Two years ago we added the Going Green column to our regular feature coverage.

Writing about sustainable seafood at that time was new territory for SeaFood Business and showed our support for conserving ocean resources. Since then we’ve covered many topics, from the carbon footprint debate to fisheries certification to handling traceability.

Now that sustainability is more of a mainstream issue, some copies of SFB include sustainability mentions in several features, as is the case with this issue’s Top Story, Special Feature and NetWorking. The Top Story by Associate Editor James Wright, Never Break the Chain, discusses the hurdles that buyers face with sustainability certification from the Marine Stewardship Council. While there are many factors that can change the price of seafood — the only protein category that is still hunted in some fashion — sustainability is yet another cost that has been pushing prices skyward.

A concern of some buyers is that studies over the past few years have shown the majority of consumers aren’t concerned about sustainability when they purchase seafood; they’re worried about price first, then quality. This was one of the findings of a new survey by SeafoodSource.com, the details of which can be found here.

Consumers may not be driving the sustainability bus, but supply-chain certification is one area that some restaurateurs like Kristofor Lofgren, who’s featured in this issue’s NetWorking interview, are staking a claim on. Lofgren is the owner of Bamboo Sushi in Portland, Ore., the first certified-sustainable sushi restaurant in the country. Click here for more insight into the restaurant concept.

All of the hidden costs in seafood add up fast, including sustainability certification that most (but not all) industry insiders now accept as a given. No other protein category in the supermarket has to adhere to such rigorous, expensive certification as seafood does. While business leaders realize the cost of doing nothing to protect resources is too much to ignore, buyers are still faced with prices that go nowhere but up.

November 2012 - SeaFood Business 

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