Sustainable Seafood Methods Questioned

Certifications, labels give 'false promises,' researchers say

As Whole Foods and other stores begin to phase out questionable seafood that can't be certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, the move towards "green" seafood is making others question the standards. 

Not only does it hurt fisherman who sold their catch to Whole Foods, The New York Times notes, it's not as sustainable as you might think. The Washington Post evalutes a new study that found that nearly 31 percent of MS-Certified fish — supposedly the gold standard of sustainable seafood — were still overfished. It has made researchers question sustainable practices in managing fisheries and stocks. Some fisheries approved by the council certainly don't seem sustainable, or kind to the friends in the sea — note one Canadian swordfish long-line fishery known for killing large numbers of sharks and sea turtles each year. Said one fisherman, David Goethel, to The New York Times, "So using the word 'sustainable,' maybe it looks good in your advertising. But, without being too harsh, it means absolutely nothing."

Others disagree and say the switch to buying sustainable seafood is still worth it. Whole Foods insists that the products they will discontinue, gray sole and skate, will be replaced with alternative fish.