Safeway and Fair Trade USA Announce Partnership Launching Fair Trade Seafood

Roisin Low

In 2014 Fair Trade USA launched a program called the Capture Fisheries Program, which aims to improve the livelihoods of coastal communities by improving working and living conditions, environmental stewardship and protection of ecosystems, as well as increasing the supply and demand. Recently, Safeway and Fair Trade USA announced a new partnership launching Fair Trade certified seafood into the North American market. Maya Spaull, Director of Innovation at Fair Trade USA says, “Fair Trade’s holistic approach has an important role to play in sustaining healthy fishing communities and oceans for generations to come and we’re thrilled that Safeway shoppers will be the first to help create lasting change through their everyday seafood purchases.”

The first Fair Trade initiative was launched in 1988 and since then the idea of “fair trade” has grown on an international scale with many organizations based around the concept. The idea of creating Fairtrade certification is to create a connection between producers and consumers, allowing consumers an opportunity to ensure that the food they are buying was produced in a sustainable and just way.

Sustainable fishing and harvesting is an important topic of discussion globally, with large portions of populations in countries such as Indonesia relying on fishing as their predominant source of income, in many cases fishing is the sole source of income that allows them to feed their families throughout the year. Overfishing and destructive fishing patterns, climate change, and pollution from coastal communities are all factors threatening biodiversity hotspots such as the Coral Triangle in Indonesia, as well as the lives of traditional fishermen.

In order for a seafood product to become Fair Trade certified the fishermen are required to source and trade according to standards set by the Fisheries program. The first Fair Trade certified seafood product sold in Safeway is wild-capture tuna from small-scale fishermen in Indonesia. These products will come from four different associations and represent 120 small-scale fishermen in the Maluku island chain of Indonesia. 

Fair Trade is also offering an additional Community Development Premium with every Fair Trade Certified tuna sold fisherman receive 10 percent of the dock-side price. This money can be invested into community projects such as healthcare and education, as well as improving fishing equipment and facilities for the community of fishermen.

“The partnership with Fair trade fits well with our overarching sustainability strategy and 2015 seafood goal,” says Director of Sustainability at Albertsons Safeway Chris Ratto.