Red Lobster is joining other major food companies that are becoming more sustainable by launching a new Seafood with Standards program. Their focus will be on bringing in seafood exclusively from trusted sources that use fair practices in the fishing industry. They’ll also follow guidelines on catch limits to protect fish populations and at-risk species.
The seafood restaurant chain opened up the movement with a commercial during Super Bowl LII on Sunday night. Three main keywords highlight the new program: traceable, sustainable, and responsible. They establish deep relationships with fisheries that have a long, highly-established reputation.
Inspectors will be working directly with the suppliers to see how sustainable they’re operating. This includes gaining certification from various programs like the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative and Best Aquaculture Practices.
Regulatory efforts like Total Allowable Catch, which sets a limit on how much a fishery can catch during a season, will be followed. This is promoted to better manage fish population. Equipment that’s able to decrease the rate of bycatching is utilized, which protects sea life and doesn’t impact the environment as much.
"We need to make sure we're sourcing in a way that ensures there's high quality seafood available to enjoy for generations to come," Kim Lopdrup, CEO of Red Lobster, told Consumer Affairs. "Responsible sourcing has been a priority for us since the very beginning, and we're proud to now share this information with our guests so they can feel good about dining with us."
All of the seafood that Red Lobster catches are either wild-caught or farm-raised. In the former process, they avoid bringing in at-risk species or catching fish in a way that can hurt sea habitat. With a good balance of both methods, the company believes that it can “keep marine ecosystems healthy” and they won’t catch too much fish by following quotas.
Both lobster and crab are exclusively wild-caught, with crab only being used from suppliers that follow harvesting seasons. Fish and shrimp are sourced with both methods, and Red Lobster follows guidelines from Global Aquaculture Alliance. They were a founding member of the organization back in 1997.
Many major food franchises are pursuing a more sustainable approach to their operations. McDonald’s is going to be switching over to 100 percent renewable packaging by 2025. While Red Lobster have had these guidelines for a while, this program emphasizes and clearly details what they’re doing and how they’ll accomplish those goals.