A relationship with a local seafood company has developed into a compelling sustainable seafood program for the Sodexo managed dining operation at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. The company, Red’s Best Seafood, works with small local fishing operators around New England that allows it to trace the provenance of the fish it buys from them.

It then provides that information—what boat caught the fish where and when—through a QR code on the cases delivered to the end user—in this case the dining operation at UMass-Boston. There, the operator can pass the information on to customers.

The program began this fall in the faculty dining room but will expand into the student dining halls as larger-volume, more familiar species like cod come into season.

“Everybody just thinks about eating tilapia, catfish and cod but right now the local fish in season is skate wing and monkfish,” says Sodexo Executive Chef Ernie Quinones. “So there’s an education component and we need to introduce it slowly. We’re starting with the faculty and staff in the faculty club. They haven’t tasted these fish before but that’s what sustainability is: what’s coming out of our local waters.”

UMass-Boston Dining gets an e-mail each day telling them what kinds of fish Red’s is getting in that day and then they order within a certain window for next-day delivery. The quick turnaround from sea to kitchen also helps extend the shelf life though the product is used quickly anyway.