Whole Foods Market is expanding its promotion and distribution of local albacore tuna this summer. The natural foods retailer has partnered with the Western Fishboat Owners Assn. (WFOA) for the fourth consecutive year to promote Marine Stewardship Council-certified (MSC), troll-caught albacore caught off the West coast of the United States.
On Saturdays from August 13 through September 10, there will be whole albacore “truck sales” with a team of expert cutters on hand to fillet and wrap customers’ albacore at select Portland-area, Seattle-area and BC stores. There will also be price promotions, tastings, fishermen visits, and cooking demonstrations highlighting the taste and health benefits of this seasonal tuna. The activities are part of Whole Foods Market’s efforts to support and promote local, sustainable seafood.
“Whole Foods Market is a huge supporter of West coast albacore and albacore fishermen, they’re always looking for ways to increase interest in local seafood,” says Wayne Heikkila, Executive Director of the WFOA, which represents about 400 albacore fishing vessels and local supporting businesses on the West coast. “These events are a great way to get people to try and buy local albacore and to teach them about the health, economic and environmental benefits of buying local,” he says.
Albacore, troll-caught by WFOA members, received the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) seal of sustainability in March 2010.The group is working to increase albacore sales at MSC-certified retailers, including Whole Foods Market, to maximize the benefit of obtaining the certification. Whole Foods Market Inc. was one of the first American companies to support and participate in the Marine Stewardship Council chain of custody program.
The vast majority of albacore landed on the West coast is destined for Japanese and European markets.”With economic conditions worsening in Europe it is more important than ever to increase our market at home,” says Heikkila.