RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—The fish we see in our supermarket’s seafood section can come from all over the world. Some are farm-raised, some are wild-caught, and many are harvested in ways that are destroying fish populations, throwing the balance of ocean ecosystems into a tizzy. Some can even be tainted with contaminants that are detrimental to our health. The good news is some retailers are taking action to incorporate sustainability policy into their seafood selections. Others are not, but you can vote with your dollars to motivate food markets to offer the best fish for the health of your family and the oceans.
THE DETAILS: A new report looking at the sustainability of seafood sold in major retailers found that 9 of the 20 surveyed are apparently doing nothing to improve the health of our oceans, while others are making positive changes. Greenpeace released the findings in its third edition of Carting Away the Oceans, basing its rankings on four categories integral to sustainability in seafood sales: policy, initiative support, transparency, and inventory. Researchers found that Aldi, Costco, Giant Eagle, H.E.B., Meijer, Price Chopper, Publix, Trader Joe’s, and Winn Dixie are ignoring scientific warnings regarding the crisis many fisheries and ocean ecosystems are encountering. Trader Joe’s ranked worst among the national supermarket chains surveyed. None of the supermarkets analyzed received a “good” score, but several improved significantly and received Greenpeace’s passing grade.
Top scorers (out of a possible 100 points)
1. Wegmans (score: 59)
2. Ahold USA (Stop & Shop, Giant, Martin’s Food Markets; score: 57)
3. Whole Foods Market (Harry’s Farmers market, Whole Foods Market, Wild Oats; score: 54)
4. Target (score: 51)
5. Safeway (score: 50)
6. Harris Teeter (score: 49)
7. Wal-Mart (42)
WHAT IT MEANS: As a consumer, you can use your purchasing power to convince supermarkets to turn around the crisis facing our oceans today so we can enjoy fish tomorrow. “Shopping for fish at an obvious seafood sustainability laggard like Trader Joe’s, for example, is something I would highly encourage consumers to rethink,” says Casson Trenor, senior markets campaigner for Greenpeace. “If we can send this message to the poor performers in the list, we can work together to change their behavior.” Supermarkets play a big part in the future of our fragile oceans, and consumers and retailers can work together to ensure we don’t wipe out species forever.
Here’s how you can make a difference.