Sustainability at Fulton Fish Market
For over 200 years we have been dedicated to bringing the finest seafood to our customers. Learn more about what we are doing to ensure future generations can enjoy the bounty of the sea that we live and breathe every day.
Our Pledge: Fulton Fish Market is committed to providing you with a wide variety of responsibly sourced seafood, procured from well-managed wild fisheries and sustainable aquaculture producers, delivered to your door daily.
There are many considerations, and often tradeoffs, that come into play when identifying sustainable seafood. It starts with responsible sourcing and ends with the delivery to your home.
We take into account these complexities, evaluating each item on a case-by-case basis. The items we offer you have been screened according to the below criteria.
Is the species healthy and able to flourish?
What is the impact on the surrounding environment?
What is the impact on the fishing communities and those that support them?
Is the product packaged and delivered responsibly and safely?
Our meticulous selection and vetting processes ensure that whatever seafood you choose from Fulton Fish Market, is a conscientious option that you can feel good about.
With that being said, we acknowledge the inherent complexity and ever changing sustainability landscape.
As a result we believe our most important role is to be transparent and to share our expertise, so you can understand some of our considerations and make the best choices that align with your values.
With so many options, it’s hard to know where to start. We sat down with our experts to help answer your questions on how to make choices that are right for you and to share more details on how we think about sustainability.
Q: How does the sustainability of seafood compare to other animal proteins?
Sustainable seafood is one of, if not the most, environmentally efficient sources of protein available! In general, seafood requires very little land and water use compared to animal proteins, with minimal impact on other wildlife or natural habitats.
Seafood generally has a lower carbon footprint because it requires fewer resources, emits less methane and is more efficient at turning feed into protein than other forms of livestock. Wild seafood requires no feed at all, and for farmed seafood, the feed conversion ratio (the amount of feed the animal requires to increase its weight by 1 kilogram) is much lower than for land animals.
Choosing seafood is a great choice for the environment, fishing communities and your health. Check out additional resources from Sustainable Fisheries and the World Resources Institute for more information on how seafood compares to other proteins in relation to greenhouse gas emissions, land and water use. If you’re interested in learning more about specific species of fish, view this tool from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch® program and Dalhousie University.
Seafood is already an important contributor to feeding our global population and it will continue to grow in importance in the coming years. Seafood is a healthy, lean protein and provides essential nutrients and minerals not found in any other animal products, such as omega 3s.
Q: Which is a more sustainable option – wild or farmed seafood?
Unfortunately, the answer is not clear-cut. There are poorly managed aquaculture operations (farmed) and poorly managed fisheries (wild). What we do believe is that there are many great wild and farmed options and that both of these are integral to making seafood available for future generations. As of 2022, about half of the seafood we consume is farmed and about half is wild.
In general, aquaculture plays a key role in meeting demand for seafood, providing access to species that have been overfished in the wild, helping to rebuild species and habitats, enhancing coastal resilience, and supporting communities.
Wild fisheries provide access to an immense variety of seafood, serve as a key component of the earth’s ecosystems, and support fishing communities across the globe.
However, both farmed and wild harvesting methods have their drawbacks. Overcrowding and negative environmental impacts from poorly run farms to overfishing and bycatch (unintended species of marine life being caught by commercial fishermen) from poorly managed fisheries are some of the larger issues that plague both industries. Going to a reputable purveyor, like Fulton Fish Market, can help assure you that the fish you buy, wild or farmed, is responsibly sourced from well-managed aquaculture operations and well-managed fisheries.
Check out the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) for more information on sustainable aquaculture and sustainable fisheries.
If you would prefer to shop exclusively for farmed or wild seafood, after searching, you can use the filters on the left sidebar to select “Farmed” or “Wild.” In addition, on the product page, you’ll see the following icons for farmed or wild products:
Q: Which is a more sustainable option – frozen or live & fresh seafood?
Broadly speaking we believe our super-frozen seafood is more sustainable than our live & fresh options but there are nuances.
The biggest contributor to the enhanced sustainability of frozen seafood is less food waste throughout the supply chain. This is observed at the supplier and consumer levels. This is due to the perishable nature of fresh seafood and due to parts of the fish that are not consumed at home. With frozen seafood, these components are often used for other purposes (ex. feed and fertilizer).
As it relates to emissions, frozen seafood can move through the supply chain in its final state (vs. fresh fish that often moves through the supply chain in its whole form, before being cut into its final form). This in turn drives more efficient transportation and fewer emissions for the frozen seafood.
With that said, holding seafood for longer periods of time in a freezer (especially home freezers) can drive increased emissions. Also, if frozen seafood has to travel further distances, there can be offsets to the emission savings mentioned above. Despite these nuances, fresh seafood will often travel across the globe via plane and is often purchased fresh but then frozen at home, so the frozen products typically fare better when all is said and done.
At the end of the day, fresh and frozen seafood are both key components to thriving fishing communities and we believe each are important. The exact sustainability will often depend on the product and personal consumption habits, but our super-frozen seafood has an edge the majority of the time.
Q: Is domestic seafood more sustainable than imported?
Similar to wild and farmed seafood there is not one simple answer here. The United States has some of the best regulations in the world and as a result you can feel good about selecting US seafood. In the United States, fisheries are held to 10 national standards of sustainability by NOAA.
Along with the United States, there are a number of countries with a vested interest in sustainable seafood and as a result there are excellent fisheries and aquaculture operations across the globe. At Fulton Fish Market, we love our domestic seafood but are committed to responsible sourcing the best seafood from around the world.
If you would prefer to shop exclusively for seafood from a particular country, after searching, you can use the filters on the left sidebar to check off a country of origin (e.g. USA). In addition, on the product page, you’ll see the country of origin under the “More” Info section.
Q: How do I make sense of all of the certifications and regulations?
Just like you check if your organic products are certified, you can do the same with seafood and sustainability. Organizations like MSC, ASC, BAP, NOAA, and Monterey Bay’s Seafood Watch Program, work with fisheries and aquaculture operations, and implement rigorous certification standards to ensure seafood is being produced and harvested with minimal environmental impact. These certifications make it easier for consumers to select sustainable seafood options, be it farmed or wild, domestic or imported.
However, there are a number of issues that sometimes lead to gaps in the certification process, make the information difficult to access or difficult to understand. For example, there are many fantastically run small operations that don’t have the funds available to pay for certifications.
We are a big believer in the work the certifying organizations do and use this information as one data point in our quest for responsibly sourced seafood.
To see if a farmed seafood has a third party sustainability certification, please read the information under the “Details” section of the product page.
Q: How else does Fulton Fish Market support sustainable oceans?
Did you know you can remove carbon from the air, simply by ordering from Fulton Fish Market and paying through Shop Pay? The Shop Pay carbon removal program funds projects that remove carbon on your behalf, including ocean-based removal through ocean alkalinity enhancement. It's similar to the way reforestation helps remove carbon on land. To reduce your shopping footprint, simply choose the Shop Pay option at checkout.
Q: What else should I know?
The scope and complexity of the topic is one of the reasons several of the United Nations sustainable development goals are directly, or indirectly, related to aquatic protein production and consumption. Because of the abundance of variables surrounding the seafood industry and the frequent changes to regulations, our sourcing decisions are made on a species by species basis. This ensures that each variety of seafood, and its specific environment and harvesting process, is carefully considered.
Sustainability is a cornerstone of Fulton Fish Market’s commitment to our oceans and communities, alongside our commitment to bringing you the highest quality seafood. We invite your feedback as we go on this journey, and encourage you to learn about and be mindful of your seafood choices. Be sure to check out our product pages for additional information. Our FAQ page also touches on sustainability factors related to our packaging and delivery. If you have additional questions, feel free to reach out to us here.