These are some of the most frequently asked questions related to Gulf Wild. If you don’t find what you are looking for, please use our convenient contact us form to submit your question.
What is Gulf Wild?
Gulf Wild is a non-profit organization that is inspiring positive, industry-wide change and conservation throughout fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. Engineered by environmentally conscious professional fishermen, it is setting the standard for genuine, traceable, responsibly caught fish- from the sea to the kitchen, from the fisherman to the chef.
Why is Gulf Wild unique?
What distinguishes Gulf Wild from any other seafood brand is that it provides real-time traceability back to the original fishermen, thus ensuring the authenticity of wild finfish harvested from the Gulf of Mexico. Every one of our wild caught fish is given a traceable identification number and scannable QR code. When you visit the Gulf Wild website, you can use this information to obtain detailed credentials of every individual fish – including who caught it, where it was caught, from what vessel, and more. The entire Gulf Wild concept assures seafood buyers (retailers, chefs and consumers alike) that the fish they purchase is responsibly harvested by conservation-minded fishermen in a sustainably-focused fishery.
How does Gulf Wild ensure sustainability?
Gulf Wild is a conservation-focused organization that, along with the undeniable impact of its TransparenSea program, contributes to the long-term health and viability of the fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. To start, all Gulf Wild fishermen participate in a catch-share program, a resource management approach that provides compelling incentives in support of the responsible harvesting of fish. Research proves that catch-share programs reduce the likelihood of fishery depletion, increase participants' compliance with catch limits, reduces by-catch (unintentionally harvested fish), and helps to reduce high-grading (tossing of low value fish) and discards (of dead or dying unwanted fish).
Additionally, Gulf Wild fishermen agree to a strict set of “Conservation Covenants” that extend far beyond federal requirements and positions Gulf Wild significantly apart from, and clearly preferable to, all other seafood brands. This ensures that Gulf Wild fishermen are working toward a maximized retention fishery (reducing harvest of unwanted species and high-grading - a practice of tossing back of lower valued fish). The fishermen are required to participate in electronic monitoring programs and implementation of gear technologies that improve efforts while protecting fisheries, marine mammals and other species. These acts of sustainability go beyond the fishermen and continue up the seafood supply chain. Gulf Wild also ensures that distributors and purveyors have registered with the TransparenSea System, signed licensing agreements that adhere to Gulf Wild conservation standards and submitted to random audit testing to ensure program compliance.
What's the idea behind Gulf Wild gill tags?
Authentication, food security, conservation and traceability are the key concepts behind our Gulf Wild tags. Our sequentially numbered gill tag affixes a unique number and scannable QR code to each individual fish. Much like a social security number, no two are alike. Boat captains and crews record the assigned numbers into our Gulf Wild TransparenSea System, which displays the specific credentials of every fish until the tag is removed or the fish is consumed.
What benefits does Gulf Wild offer buyers?
The Gulf Wild system assures wholesalers, retailers, restaurateurs and consumers that their wild-caught Gulf of Mexico seafood is genuine, responsibly harvested, and from a conservation-focused fishery in U.S. waters. In this “meet the producer” era, chefs and restaurant buyers can build trust, loyalty and marketing value by featuring the specific stories of our individual Gulf Wild fishermen and their vessels. Retail and restaurant buyers with sustainability pledges can support their promises with full certainty. The entire system re-establishes consumer confidence and trust in Gulf of Mexico seafood.
Does this program resolve mislabeling issues?
Yes, thanks to immediate online confirmation of the fish type and original harvesting area in the Gulf of Mexico, buyers and sellers receive the high-value sustainable Gulf fish they paid for. The unique Gulf Wild tagging system avoids substitutions of lower-value fish harvested from regions other than fisheries declared on the label.
Who started Gulf Wild?
Gulf Wild was engineered by the very fishermen who harvest wild seafood from the Gulf of Mexico. Gulf Wild fishermen are visionary members of the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance, one of the most advanced and conservation-minded groups of fishermen in the world. They sought a unique manner of business that would sustain a healthy fishery, and provide year-round consumer access to authentic and safety-inspected seafood. Their membership has agreed to wholly support this program across the entire Gulf of Mexico, from the western tip of Florida to the southernmost port in Texas.
Who oversees and operates Gulf Wild?
Advising the Gulf Wild program is a nine-member national Board of Directors and a twenty member, first of its kind, Conservation Standards Committee. This Board and Committee includes leaders from the culinary, conservation, and retail environments that serve seafood consumers at large. Additionally, a number of industry, government and private-sector supporters are stepping up daily. A few organizations that have publicly endorsed the Gulf Wild brand include the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Wegman's, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Sustainable Fishery Partnership and the Hot and Hot Fish Club with James Beard award winning Chef Chris Hastings based in Birmingham, Alabama.
Does this mean more expensive seafood?
Not at all. While Gulf Wild is a sophisticated system, it is rooted in a fundamental mission of addressing erratic price fluctuations that were formerly seen with old-style “derby” fishing. As an example, in the 1990s, laws prohibited red snapper fishermen from harvesting this iconic American fish after the 15th day of each month. This meant fish sold later in the month was not only more expensive (supply and demand), but nowhere near as fresh. Today, red snapper fishermen in the Gulf Wild program have full control of their fishing seasons and can provide a more regular supply of fish. This means more reliable prices and fresher product for consumers nationwide.
What fish are available in the Gulf Wild product line?
The program offers the iconic American Red Snapper and Gulf Red Grouper species plus an additional 18 species including Hogfish and 20 different types of bycatch species.
What is TransparenSea?
TransparenSea is the real-time web interface that provides never-before transparent views of Gulf seafood operations. Simply locate the “Track Your Fish” feature on our website and type in the unique number or scan the QR code from any Gulf Wild seafood tag. You will be given immediate access to the credentials connected with that specific fish:
- Specific fish type
- Name and background of Captain and his harvesting vessel
- Fish house and city where your seafood was landed
- Harvesting location, down to a 10-square mile area in the Gulf where your fish caught
How can I support Gulf Wild?
As a conservation-focused, non-profit organization, donations and sponsorships from like-minded individuals is our life-blood. Here's how you can help. Aside from financial support, you can "friend" us on Facebook, follow us Twitter, and tell people about Gulf Wild. Best yet, ask your seafood retailer or dealer to place an order for Gulf Wild brand seafood.