Santa Monica’s Responsible Sourcing Vendor Partner (RSVP) Program
We created our Responsible Sourcing Vendor Partner (RSVP) Program to collectively apply a percentage of our purchases towards projects we believe in strongly as a company
This unique program funds valuable work that builds trust with our customers, credibility in the industry and moves all of us toward a more sustainable future. The key to our program is participation; we’re not just talking about issues of sustainability - we’re actively involved in educating ourselves and our customers on current issues, as well as engaging directly in these issues.
One important use of RSVP funds is to invest in identifying, qualifying and verifying new (and existing) suppliers and to confirm that they share our commitment to food safety, supply integrity and sustainable practices. By traveling to the source of our supply we’ll be able to make honest assessments, and pass what we learn along to you.
A more secure future cannot be accomplished through our purchases alone and so this fund also helps to support fisheries programs around the world.
Keep reading to learn more about the current projects we’re supporting with RSVP funds:
HUBBS SeaWorld Research Institute, White Seabass Aquaculture
Founded in 1963, HSWRI conducts research in the tradition of world-renowned scientists, Dr. Carl L. and Laura C. Hubbs and is an effort to achieve a balance between more traditional fishing, supported by stock replenishment and farming. The HSWRI project is comprised of three separate programs; hatchery, grow out and monitoring. A separate program sends Hubbs biologists and volunteers to commercial white seabass landing areas all along the coast to collect heads. The heads are scanned with a metal detector and if they find a tag, they remove it to read the numbers. In this manner they are able to determine survival rates, program efficacy as well as how far the fish travel from their release sites and how fast they grow. This is the nation's largest marine fish enhancement program, the only one on the West Coast and is 100% supported by fishing stamps, state grants and private donations.
Pfleger Institute of Environment Research (PIER) – California Swordfish Deep-Set Buoy Gear Development and Trials
Working in conjunction with NOAA, PIER is developing and testing an experimental gear type to be used in the swordfish fishery. Recent studies conducted on preferred depths that swordfish feed at have been used to design a type of gear that targets the fish at specific depths, minimizing bycatch concerns inherent to the longline fishery. This type of gear is already in use on the east coast, and may expand the current fishery into new areas that are currently off-limits due to bycatch concerns. Support of this project will ultimately ensure a greater supply of responsibly harvested local swordfish at a lower price than the harpoon fishery.
Northwest Straits Initiative Derelict Gear Removal Program
The Northwest Straits Initiative (NWSI) Derelict Gear Removal Program preserves fish stocks and local wildlife in Puget Sound and the Salish Sea by working to remove abandoned or lost fishing nets and crab/shrimp pots. It is important to remove “legacy” nets to prevent ghost fishing – the phenomenon of abandoned fishing gear continuing to ensnare wildlife. To date, the program has removed thousands of nets and crab/shrimp traps. Removal of lost gear helps prevent the loss of salmon, dungeness crab, bottom and forage fish, and other non-commercial wildlife – providing a benefit for local tribal fisheries as well as the thriving multi-species commercial fishery in the region.
AKCRRAB, Alaska King Crab Research, Rehabilitation, and Biology Program
The Alaska King Crab Research, Rehabilitation and Biology (AKCRRAB) Program is an Alaska Sea Grant partnership with regional fishermen's groups, coastal communities, NOAA Fisheries, the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery and Chugach Regional Resources Commission, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, to conduct a research program aimed at hatching and rearing wild red and blue king crabs in a large-scale hatchery setting. AKCRRAB's mission is to understand the large-scale culturing needs of wild red and blue king crab stocks, and to perfect strategies for hatching and rearing king crab to a stage where they can be released into the wild and contribute to reversing low wild stock abundance in Alaska.
Heal the Bay, Key to the Sea Education Program
Key to the Sea is a program for teachers and K-5 classrooms in Los Angeles County conducted by a local Santa Monica non-profit, Heal the Bay. The program includes engaging hands-on activities for students, including a field trip to the beach and partnering aquariums, as well as no-cost professional development opportunities for teachers. Marine conservation, ocean pollution solutions, and sustainable and safe seafood are all sections of the curriculum provided to teacher participants. This program not only provides a unique opportunity to students and teachers of budget-deprived schools throughout LA County, it also plants the seeds for future knowledgeable seafood consumers.
Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), Gulf of California (GoC) Industrial Shrimp Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP)
The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership’s (SFP) Gulf of California (GoC) industrial shrimp ‘fisheries improvement project’ (FIP) is working to promote the use of gear that diminishes the environmental impacts of the yellowleg, pacific blue and whiteleg shrimp trawl fisheries. The GoC industrial trawl shrimp fishery in the northwest Pacific coast of Mexico is resulting in the wasteful discard of endangered sea turtles, totoaba (a sea bass found only in the GoC), and seahorses as well as having lasting impacts to seafloor habitats. The SFP industrial shrimp FIP is helping to reduce these negative impacts as well as encourage better management and regulation of the fishery from the Mexican government.
California Sea Grant Collaborative Fisheries Research Program
The CCFRP is a collaborative effort among researchers from CA Sea Grant at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) and SLOSEA / Center for Coastal Marine Sciences at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo as well as the captains and crew of 15 commercial and CPFV vessels in central California. For the past six years, CCFRP has been conducting collaborative fisheries projects on local commercially important species through collaborative hook and line tag and release surveys and commercial live trap fishery surveys. The species of interest include nearshore rockfish species, California halibut, cabezon, lingcod, ocean whitefish and Pacific bonito. The CCFRP utilizes the expertise of both scientists and fishermen to better understand the health of fish stocks and marine ecosystems in California.
WWF Peruvian Mahi FIP
Peruvian mahi mahi is an important fishery for us and the rest of the United States market. Â However, mahi mahi is typically fished with surface longlines baited with thousands of hooks, which can result in bycatch especially of endangered sea turtles. A monitoring program is needed to know if bycatch of other species, such as sea birds, is also an issue in the fishery. The fishery also needs improved management of the resource and monitoring to ensure that the fishery's existing regulations are being complied with. Still in the early phases of development, some of the Peruvian mahi mahi FIP activities will address these bycatch and management issues.
Fathom Consulting - Pelagic Trawl Gear Improvement
Trawling has historically been the most common fishing method employed in our U.S. rockfish and flatfish (groundfish) fisheries. Unfortunately, there are some serious environmental drawbacks to trawling: bycatch and habitat damage. Some trawlers have been able to switch to hook and line gear, and this has led to important conservation gains. However, some species are only economically caught with a trawl, and as a result it is clear that use of the gear will continue. Fathom Consulting helps trawl fishermen strategize ways to minimize bycatch and damage to sensitive bottom habitat.Â Working with a trawler out of Monterey, Fathom Consulting is conducting trials with modified trawl gear that significantly reduces the points of contact of traditional trawl gear. Preliminary results are encouraging - ultimately leading to a fresher and more environmentally responsible product.