Trusted Catch

Sustainability FAQ

What is sustainable wild-caught seafood?

To Gorton’s, sustainability for wild-caught seafood means that it must be legally caught, come from sustainable fish stock, and be caught in a way that minimizes bycatch and the environmental impact to habitat and ecosystems.  For example, in the Alaska Pollock fishery, mid-water trawls are utilized, which include safety catches to allow any other wildlife that might be caught to escape.  As mid-water trawls do not reach the bottom of the sea floor, they don’t damage corals or the sea floor, and they avoid the top layer of the ocean as well, where many aquatic mammals live.  Lastly, the fishery must also be effectively managed, so that it has a system in place to respond to changing circumstances and conditions.   

What is sustainable aquaculture?

Gorton’s believes aquaculture or fish farming is an important component for meeting the growing global demand for seafood while maintaining healthy populations of wild species.  Given aquaculture’s importance, it is vital that it is conducted in a responsible manner, which to Gorton’s includes:

  • Minimizing any negative environmental impact – which can be caused by waste management on local habitats and ecosystems – and providing protections to maintain biodiversity
  • Ensuring fish are treated and managed in a responsible manner with good water quality and no antibiotic use
  • Guaranteeing that the conditions of farm workers are protected

What is an eco-label?

Eco-labels are often voluntary logos directed at consumers that are a measurement or communication of the sustainability levels of a product.  Some labels quantify pollution or energy consumption by way of index scores or units of measurement; others simply assert compliance with a set of practices or minimum requirements for sustainability or reduction of harm to the environment.  Some eco-labels are started by non-governmental organizations and others are mandated by government legislation.  Within Seafood MSC, ASC, and BAP logos on packaging are examples of eco-labels that have been developed by non-governmental organizations as an indication that responsible seafood sourcing practices are used and other guidelines, such as social responsibility, are met.

What is the difference between BAP, ASC and MSC certifications and eco-labels?

All three eco-labels were developed by non-governmental organizations to assure consumers that a product carrying the logo is in compliance with a set of standards for responsible seafood sourcing.  The MSC logo relates to wild-caught seafood, while the BAP and ASC logos are competing standards related to aquaculture (farmed seafood) sustainability.

If you source from MSC certified fisheries, why don’t you have the MSC eco-label on your packaging?

The MSC eco-label is only applicable to wild-caught seafood from MSC-certified fisheries. Gorton's focus on continuous fishery improvement for both wild caught and aquaculture (farmed) species goes beyond any one specific eco-label, which is why we now put our Trusted Catch™ logo on our packaging. You can be assured that whether you are buying wild-caught or farmed seafood from Gorton's, it is responsibly sourced based on the latest scientific data and best practices, and that you are helping to enact real change on the water by supporting on-going Fishery Improvement Projects, with a focus on continuous improvement.

What is bycatch?

Bycatch are living creatures caught unintentionally, including other fish species and marine animals. For example, in the Alaska Pollock fishery, Salmon is the most common bycatch species, and great care is taken to ensure that the Salmon returning to spawn make it back to the rivers. There are strict bycatch limits set by the government, and government inspectors are on every fishing vessel to monitor and ensure these regulations are followed. If any fishing vessel exceeds the bycatch limit, the entire fishery is shut down, and all boats must stop fishing until it is clear that the Salmon have passed.

Why do you source Tilapia from China?

China is the largest source country for Tilapia in the world. Gorton's has worked with a select group of suppliers in China for a very long time and has developed strong trusted partnerships with them. All of our Chinese suppliers share our passion for quality and responsible farming practices. Their Tilapia meets our rigorous quality standards and is only raised in remote, pristine, freshwater lakes, ponds or reservoirs. Furthermore, we require all our Tilapia processors to be BAP or ASC-certified.  Gorton’s sources from multiple regions within Asia to meet the demands of our consumers for high quality products and to balance our supply against interruptions due to unforeseen climate issues or other external conditions.

Is your packaging recyclable?

Because product freshness and convenience are important, our products come in various types of packaging, which impacts recyclability based on the product. The bags that are 19.2 oz and larger are recyclable in areas that allow recycling for #7 plastic plastics, however, the 13.0 – 19.0 oz bags are not currently recyclable. The cartons used on the remainder of our line have a moisture barrier coating applied to the paperboard (poly-coated) to protect our product in the freezer, and are therefore only recyclable in select areas that are able to process such materials. For information about your local recycling capabilities, please contact your town or city.