Shark Finning Policy
Clover Leaf Seafoods is against the practice of shark finning (retaining shark fins and discarding the remaining carcasses while at sea) in global fisheries. The practice is inconsistent with our company values, is wasteful and is in conflict with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries as well as with numerous other resolutions of marine organizations calling for minimizing waste and discards.
Our policy is to ensure that no tuna we source comes from companies that do not have a policy prohibiting the practice of shark finning, from vessels that have been found to have engaged in shark finning by a Regional Fisheries Management Organization or national authority for two years following the date of the most recent finding, or from operators that do not retain, land and report all sharks caught (except for species that are prohibited by national law or RFMO regulations, or those individuals released alive).
The majority of our tuna is already supplied by companies who, like Clover Leaf, are partners in the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) and thereby share the shark finning policy resolution commitment effective for all partners June 1, 2012. For our non-ISSF tuna suppliers, we have conveyed to them that compliance with this resolution and our associated commitment is a requirement to continue business with us effective September 1, 2012.
Clover Leaf Seafoods is on the forefront of tackling this important issue. Our brand is one of the oldest seafood brands in North America, having been established in 1899. We are confident that our leadership and our actions will ensure the long term sustainability of the fisheries that we depend on.
Clover Leaf® – Increasing sourcing of tuna caught by vessels on the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) ProActive Vessel Register (PVR)
Clover Leaf continues to view the ISSF PVR as an effective, credible and verifiable way to identify those purse seine vessels that are taking meaningful sustainability efforts to improve responsible practices in tuna fishing and that are in compliance with ISSF Multi-Annual Commitments.
Clover Leaf sources the majority of its skipjack and albacore tuna from the western and central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) where in past years a limited number of fishing vessels operating in this area had adopted the PVR. Through a combination of efforts, including in part our encouragement of suppliers and fleets to join the PVR, we were pleased to see a significant increase in the number of purse seine vessels operating in the WCPO listed on the PVR in 2014.
Approximately 65% of our lightmeat purchases in 2014 came from purse seiners listed on the PVR (based on the March 2015 PVR list). Clover Leaf is committed to continue to increase purchases of tuna caught by vessels on the PVR during 2015 leading up to January 2016 when, based on ISSF resolution 2014-03, all purchases from large scale purse seiners will come from vessels on the PVR. We believe we have played a supportive role in increasing PVR participation as we worked directly with our ISSF partners and suppliers in 2014 to encourage fleets from which we commonly source to join the PVR.
Now here is an overall review of our policies:
- Responsible sourcing: Clover Leaf will cease participation in fisheries where fisheries lack data and/or robust management, Clover Leaf will work with fisheries to develop improvement plans. This reflects our belief that it is more effective to work with poorly managed fisheries than to abandon them. If we stop sourcing from them altogether, they will simply find someone else to sell a poorly-managed, inexpensive product to. By working with them, we can provide incentive for improvement.
- overfishing is occurring, and
- the fishery is overfished, and
- management actions are not in place to return the fishery to a sustainable state. (Click here to learn the difference between overfishing and overfished)
- Protection of ocean environments:
- Dolphin-safe: We source only from fishing vessels that do not intentionally chase, net or encircle dolphins while fishing; further, we prohibit the use of drift gill nets to catch tuna. Read more about Dolphin-Safe certification here.
- No shark finning: We only source our tuna from
- companies that have a policy prohibiting shark finning
- vessels that have not engaged in shark finning for at least two years
- operators that retain, land and report all sharks caught (except for species that are prohibited by national law or RFMO regulations, or those individuals released alive) (Concerns regarding shark finning and dolphins in bycatch are only relevant to tuna fishing vessels; rest assured that we are doing our part to eliminate these destructive practices.)
- No large-scale drift nets: This is a destructive fishing method that Clover Leaf does not endorse, in accordance with the UN ban.
- Traceability: The large majority of the species we sell are traceable from ship to plate – a fact that we are proud of. Traceability is necessary for us to ensure that all of our seafood is coming from legal sources and is being fished or caught as sustainably as possible. Our traceable species include: tuna, salmon, sardines, cocktail shrimp, imitation crab & lobster, and chopped ocean clams.
- No sourcing from IUUs: We do not purchase from vessels engaging in Illegal, Unreported, or Unregulated fishing. Fishing must be legal and reported in order for management to be successful.
For species-specific policies, see our Sustainable Seafood School section above. Each of these pages details the tailored provisions that ensure the long-term health and availability of each species.