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Red Lobster partners with Seafood Watch

Casual-dining chain, which calls itself the largest seafood-buying restaurant in the U.S., will work with Monterey Bay Aquarium

Red Lobster announced a partnership Tuesday with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program. The program is part of the aquarium’s initiative to improve the sustainability of global fisheries.

Orlando, Fla.-based Red Lobster will use the program’s scientific data and educational tools to help inform and guide its sourcing decisions. The casual-dining chain also plans to use Seafood Watch data to educate guests and team members on seafood choices, according to a news release. The partnership builds on Red Lobster’s Seafood with Standards commitment, announced in January, which pledged to serve only traceable, sustainable and responsibly-sourced seafood. Red Lobster has buyers and inspectors active in over 20 countries.

“Because of our size and scale, we can use our influence to drive positive change in the industry and lead the way in sustainable and responsible seafood sourcing,” said Kim Lopdrup, CEO of Red Lobster, in the news release. “Red Lobster is committed to taking a leadership position in conserving and protecting every kind of seafood we source. Our partnership with Seafood Watch is the natural next step in keeping our commitments and driving continuous improvement within our seafood supply chain.”

"We’ve successfully used our influence to drive positive changes in the industry in the past," Lopdrup wrote in a email. "For example, when it came to aquaculture standards, we felt everyone could do better. As a founding member of the Global Aquaculture Alliance —a leading international non-governmental organization dedicated to advocacy, education and leadership in responsible aquaculture — we helped develop Best Aquaculture Practices certification and were among the first to require all suppliers to follow Best Aquaculture Practice standards for shrimp, salmon, tilapia and other seafood."

Currently, Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch has 379 direct business partners, such as groceries and food management companies, at approximately 13,000 locations, although more than 1,000 businesses reference the organization’s science. As of April, Seafood Watch had 197 restaurant partner locations. The partnership with Red Lobster will add over 700 restaurants.

“We applaud Red Lobster for its commitment,” said Julie Packard, executive director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, in the news release. “It sends a strong signal to the marketplace: Fishing fleets and aquaculture producers will be rewarded for adopting practices that support healthy ocean ecosystems. Ultimately, that will mean better choices for everyone who enjoys seafood.”

Contact Gloria Dawson at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @gloriadawson

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