To label or not to label? Some pushing for “Fair Trade” fish

To be certified, seafood would have to be harvested under fair working conditions, with environmental focus

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – There is a push in the seafood industry to put more stringent labeling on fish and shellfish, but the folks at Schermerhorn’s Seafood in Holyoke don’t necessarily think this is a good idea.

Michael Fitzgerald of Schermerhorn’s says that they have been in business for more than 100 years, and during that time, they have built trust and relationships with suppliers that go beyond the label.

The push is to have qualifying seafood labeled Fair Trade-certified. A company would need to agree to an audit to make sure the food is produced under fair working conditions, with a focus on the environment and sustainability in the food chain.

Seafood certification started in 2014, and the volume of imports grew by more than 350% last year. Fair trade scallops will hit the market this month, and Fair Trade coffee is already available.

“I think it could get very confusing for the average customer coming in,” Fitzgerald said. “They know who they are doing business with. We have been around for 105 years. All our suppliers, we know who they are, and certainly you are going to know with what you are buying whether you are happy or not, versus labels.”

Fitzgerald told 22News that they trust their suppliers on Cape Cod, Maine, and Canada, and know who they are. He said that bad suppliers can over-soak their product, making people pay for extra weight.