Last updated on June 13th, 2023 at 04:51 pm
Lakeland, Florida-based Publix donated $600,000 to the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership in observance of World Oceans Day on June 8.
Sustainable Fisheries Partnership is a nonprofit marine conservation organization that brings retailers, seafood buyers and their supply chains together to protect the environment while continuing to promote the sustainable productivity of fisheries and fish farms.
This year’s donations bring the company’s contributions to more than $600,000 during its 13-year collaboration with Sustainable Fisheries Partnership.
“It is important to Publix that we support and assist seafood industry leaders so that meaningful and lasting steps can be taken to protect marine life while allowing for the responsible and sustainable harvesting of seafood,” Guy Pizzuti, Publix’s business development director of seafood, said in a statement.
Over the last year, Publix has donated more than $165,000 to Sustainable Fisheries Partnership to help support fishery and aquaculture improvement projects and other efforts to advance seafood sustainability.
The donations included more than $83,000 for ropeless fishing gear, more than $42,000 for electronic monitoring to reduce bycatch and Publix’s annual $40,000 donation to support SFP’s initiatives to achieve steady and continuous improvements in fisheries.
Ropeless fishing gear
Ropeless fishing gear, known in the fishing industry as on-demand gear, includes enhanced traps that catch lobster and crab from the ocean floor but help eliminate the risk of whales getting entangled in the ropes. The gear is supplied through gear libraries to fishers and commercial fisheries free of charge.
Bycatch monitoring devices
Unintended catch, or bycatch, is when fisheries accidentally catch nontarget wildlife, such as whales, sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and seabirds. Five fishing boats within Publix’s supply chain have been equipped with high-quality cameras and monitoring equipment that collect data on the effectiveness of best practices to reduce bycatch in the mahi-mahi, swordfish and yellowfin tuna fisheries in Costa Rica and Panama. The equipment records when and where bycatch occurs, tracks migration patterns and gathers data on the species involved.
Fishery improvement projects
The company’s annual donation supports SFP’s initiatives and efforts to advance fishery improvement projects, including addressing bycatch in the Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery and fostering healthy growth of blue swimming crab in various fishing locations.
“These donations from Publix are important for two reasons,” said Kathryn Novak, SFP director of biodiversity and nature.
“First, it sends a signal to fishermen that retailers like Publix are interested in seeing these changes made to protect ocean wildlife from fishing impacts and, second, it helps the fishers over the hurdle of investing in new gear or practices. SFP is proud to partner with Publix on these important initiatives.”
Publix was the first U.S. retailer to join with Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, BirdLife International and Whale and Dolphin Conservation to review and understand the risks from the unintended catch of ocean wildlife within the seafood sourcing supply chain.