Beginning this Earth Day (April 22), Whole Foods Market will no longer carry red-rated, wild-caught fish in its seafood departments. The move, which comes one year ahead of the company’s self-imposed deadline of Earth Day 2013, makes Whole Foods Market the first national grocer to stop selling red-rated seafood.
A red rating indicates that a species is suffering from overfishing or that current fishing methods harm other marine life or habitats; the ratings are determined by nonprofit research organizations Blue Ocean Institute and Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Blue Ocean Institute and Monterey Bay Aquarium’s green or “Best Choice” ratings mean species are abundant and are caught in environmentally friendly ways; yellow or “Good Alternative” ratings indicate some concerns with the species’ status or catch methods.
Any wild-caught seafood at Whole Foods Market that does not carry the color-coded rankings of Blue Ocean Institute and Monterey Bay Aquarium comes from fisheries deemed sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), which remains the company’s primary indicator for seafood sustainability.
As of April 22, Atlantic halibut, grey sole, skate, and others will no longer be offered. Whole Foods Market’s fishmongers will help recommend alternatives, such as MSC-certified Pacific halibut and yellow-rated Dover sole and Atlantic flounder.