Sustainable Seafood Policy
Sprouts sources seafood from select partners who are committed to preserving and protecting the health of our marine and freshwater ecosystems and the wellbeing of fishery-dependent communities, so current and future generations may continue to enjoy sustainable seafood.
Sprouts will only buy from clearly traceable sources that can provide third party certification and chain of control documents. Vendors must provide evidence that products do not come from sources that utilize any illegal methods, including those violating human rights. Sprouts requires some form of traceability, including audits and substantial documentation. Additionally, Sprouts only purchases from vendors who follow the provisions of the Federal Lacey Act and Seafood Import Monitoring Program.
To work with Sprouts, certified fisheries and farm operations must undergo a rigorous process to ensure that practices comply with requirements that have been established by international experts. An independent, specially trained third-party team will examine every aspect of an operation and issue a certificate that must be renewed on a time schedule that depends on the species being certified. The certification bodies Sprouts works with are all recognized as credible by scientific, industry, and non-governmental organizations internationally. As other certifying bodies pass the rigorous benchmarking requirements of the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative, these will be evaluated for inclusion in Sprouts’ sustainability policy.
Where there is seafood that is certified sustainable by a credible organization, Sprouts will only source fresh, frozen, shelf-stable, and sushi seafood species from fisheries or farm programs certified sustainable by credible organizations under one of these certifications, or that are rated as a Best Choice (Green) or Good Alternative (Yellow) by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program:
- Alaska RFM
- Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
- Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP), three star or higher
- Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)
- Audubon Gulf United for lasting Fisheries (GULF)
- BIM Certified Quality Aquaculture (Ireland)
- MEL Japan
As additional certification programs achieve approval from the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative, they will also be considered for inclusion on the approved program list.
For some species, there are either no certifications available or too little certified product is available. Fisheries and farm operations that do not have the resources to undergo a full certification protocol but that are operating within the framework of a formal Fisheries or Aquaculture Improvement Plan are eligible for consideration as a source. These plans must have well-defined goals and make annual progress towards eventual certification or continued credibility. These plans must also operate under the direction of a credible management body like the World Wildlife Fund or those using Sustainable Fisheries Partnership guidelines and are listed on the FisheryProgress.org website.
Non-certified seafood species from countries that have robust regulatory oversight and sound scientific management practices are eligible for inclusion as a source of supply on a case by case basis.
Sprouts will not purchase genetically modified seafood nor species that are threatened and have no credible improvement plan, including shark, bluefin tuna, Russian cod not in a FIP, some Russian crab, squid, octopus, Atlantic sardines, spiny lobsters and wild shrimp from areas with poor regulatory oversight. Sprouts will not accept seafood that has been transshipped at sea without verifiable 100 percent independent observer coverage. Vessels that engage in shark finning will be removed from our program.