Whole Foods Pledges Seafood Sustainability

On Earth Day, Whole Foods will stop selling 'red-rated' seafood

Maryland isn't the only place hunting down sustainable methods for its seafood. Whole Foods announced today that it would stop selling "red-rated," or overfished, seafood beginning on Earth Day.

That means that seafood populations suffering from overfishing or from killing methods that disrupt other marine life or habitats are out, says a press release from the company. So say goodbye to octopus, Atlantic halibut and cod, grey sole, and skate — Whole Foods' fishmongers on hand will point you towards MSC-certified Pacific halibut, yellow-rated Dover sole, and Atlantic flounder.

"Through collaborations with the Marine Stewardship Council, Blue Ocean Institute, and Monterey Bay Aquarium, we offer our shoppers knowledge to make conscious seafood choices for themselves, their families, and our oceans," said David Pilaf, Whole Foods' global seafood buyer, in the press release. 

Said seafood quality standards coordinator Carrie Brownstein to USA Today, the company's move is toward greater sustainability in seafood. "In the long term, what we're really looking to do is help reverse trends of overfishing and bi-catch, so that really we can move the industry as a whole toward greater sustainability," she said.

Now, Whole Foods stores will sell only the green- and yellow-rated seafood in stores; green means the species are abundant and are caught in a sustainable, environmentally friendly method, and yellow means there are some concerns with the species or the catching method.

Whole Foods has been committed to sustainable seafood since 2010, when it partnered with the Blue Ocean Institute and the Monteray Bay Aquarium. The company set its own deadline to make its seafood counter sustainable by Earth Day 2013, and beat it by one full year.