Our Approach

As a seafood business with such heritage and pedigree, we realise more than most just how important it is to maintain healthy natural resources. Having been dependent upon fish and our world’s oceans for our primary raw materials for over 200 years now, we recognise fish as so much more than just a food commodity along with the requirement to responsibly source from our seas if we are going to continue business for centuries to come.

Our sourcing decisions are based on our ten principles of responsible sourcing, this code of ethics we have developed within the business goes beyond a policy and is ingrained into a business philosophy. These principles are listed below and are embedded in our seafood sourcing policies under our Fish for Life Initiative.

  1. Legality
  2. Objective assessment
  3. Communication
  4. Engagement
  5. Continuous improvement
  6. Prohibition
  7. Research
  8. Traceability
  9. Ethical Trading
  10. Environmental Stewardship

Wild Capture Fisheries

We base our fish procurement decisions on unique formal selection criteria which clearly define and apply our understanding of ‘responsible procurement’. We acknowledge that the status of aquatic eco-systems is dynamic and often poorly understood. We are conscious of the continuing development of scientific understanding and the flux of authoritative opinion and will regularly review our selection criteria and policy positions to ensure that we make decisions based on the most current information available.

In 2011, Young’s along with several other NGOs, Retailers and Processers founded the Sustainable Seafood Coalition (SSC). Along with other engaged parties, we helped develop the SSC Codes of Conduct on Environmentally Responsible Fish and Seafood Sourcing and Environmental Claims, which we have voluntarily signed up to comply to.

We recognise Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) as an important tool in graduating fisheries to sustainable practices. We are committed to directly participating in FIPs throughout our supply chain both domestic and abroad such as Project UK to ensure we move raw material suppliers towards sustainable certification.


Aquaculture remains the fastest growing food production sector and now accounts for approximately half of all seafood produced globally. Due to this industry’s rapid growth and future potential. Young’s remains highly engaged to ensure any products from aquaculture operations are farmed to the highest standards.

Young’s Aquaculture Assurance Policy recognises 3 fully accredited certification schemes, which address the relevant issues in the FAO Technical Guidelines, and are conformant to ISO 65,” General requirements for bodies operating product certification systems”. Additionally, any further schemes which are benchmarked by the Global Seafood sustainability initiative (GSSI).

We also recognise emerging technologies in this field, particularly developments in humane treatment, pest and disease control and aquafeeds. We continue to engage with industry wide initiatives and relevant stakeholders to Ensure best practice is implemented through our supply chain.

Ethical Sourcing

We aim to ensure that all workers who are directly employed by the Company or working within the supply chain to our Company are employed in conditions that meet or exceed the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) base code and the fundamental International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions. As an AB Member of Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (SEDEX) we require our entire supplier base to join SEDEX and complete a self-assessment. We are a Business Partner for the Stronger 2gether initiative which aims to tackle hidden labour exploitation in business and supply chains. In 2019 Young’s join the Food Network for Ethical Trade (FNET) to help support our ambitions in ethical trade.

Animal Welfare

Young’s believes that fish and crustacea are sentient beings and that consideration of their welfare is an important aspect of raising and dispatching them for human food purposes. From a responsible business point of view, it’s clear that the right thing to do is to work towards the sourcing of all products from farms that provide high standards of welfare to their livestock. Young’s believe that the best way to deliver and define adequate welfare conditions is by using the ‘five freedoms framework’, widely recognised as the basis of good animal welfare and husbandry. These freedoms are founded scientifically in empirically based agricultural science.

Whilst slaughter is a relatively short stage in the life-cycle of the fish, pre-slaughter handling and the method of slaughter itself cannot only reflect the attitude of the farmer to welfare throughout the life-cycle of the fish, but it can also have a significant effect on the quality of product delivered to Young’s. Due to this Young’s requires a humane slaughter method to demonstrably be in place for all finfish aquaculture, this requires the animal to be rendered into a state of unconsciousness that persists until death has transpired. This does not include carbon dioxide stunning or live bleeding.

Involvement in industry-wide initiatives

We recognise the diverse interests of all stakeholders in the fishing and aquaculture industries. We engage openly in dialogue with all parties, including fishermen, fish farmers, governments, trade associations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and food retailers. We will strive to ensure that our policies, values and behaviour regarding responsible fish procurement are leading and shaping opinion – and to pursue a vigorous and positive agenda for change rather than being merely passive or responsive to criticism or challenge.

  • We recognise plastic pollution as being a major threat to marine ecosystems and have a responsibility to tackle this throughout our supply chain. Despite not being a vertically integrated organisation with no vessels, we acknowledge Abandoned, Lost or Discarded Fishing Gear (ALDFG) as a systemic issue that requires wider engagement. In line with this, Young’s has been supportive of the Global Ghost Gear Imitative (GGGI) since 2015 and have implemented aspects of its Best Practice Framework (BFP) into our sourcing polices.
  • Since 2017 we have signed up to a landmark agreement between leading seafood retailers, brands, suppliers and NGOs to protect pristine areas of the Northern Barents Sea from the expansion of cod fisheries in the region, until we can be sure that those activities will not adversely affect the marine environment.
  • Continuous improvement of our supply chain is an integral part of our 10 principles. As part of this commitment we have been heavily engaged with organisations such as Fisheries Innovation Scotland (FIS). Fisheries Innovation Scotland is a legally constituted, non-profit-distributing organisation, with the remit of bringing together government, scientists, industry and other key stakeholders within a formal structure to lead an on-going programme of research, knowledge exchange and education. It aims to deliver expert advice to help inform the governance and management of sustainable fisheries, the fishing industry and related supply chain throughout Scotland.

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