In the second edition of Greenpeace's seafood sustainability scorecard released today, the supermarket chains Whole Foods, Ahold USA, Target and Harris Teeter received "passing" scores indicating a small, but significant shift in purchasing practices and policies. Other retailers don't fair as well.
Take Publix, which failed to achieve the 40 percent score necessary to receive a 'passing' grade on the ranking scale (It did move up from the lowest position (20) in last June's scorecard to #13 now.) Everyone's favorite frozen food shop, Trader Joe's, again came in at #17, the worst ranking of the national supermarket chains surveyed. Too bad we didn't score on sweets because their Brownie Bites are delicious.
In June, all 20 leading supermarket chains in the U.S. failed the first of Greenpeace's seafood sustainability analyses. The report demonstrated that the chains are ignoring scientific warnings about the crisis facing global fisheries and the marine environment when they stock their shelves with seafood. Many are continuing to stock "red list" seafood like orange roughy, swordfish, and Chilean sea bass — some of the world's most critically imperiled species. None of the companies featured in the report currently have policies and practices that guarantee they won't sell seafood from fisheries that are harming sea turtles, dolphins, seals, sea lions, and other marine mammals.
Doing seafood the right way
While all 20 supermarkets continue to sell destructively fished and over-fished species, several companies have begun developing and implementing sustainable seafood policies and practices. Eight companies have demonstrated their commitment to improving their seafood sustainability by removing from sale some imperiled species such as orange roughy and sharks. Big props to Whole Foods, Ahold USA (brand names include Stop & Shop and Giant), Target, Wegmans, Safeway (Dominick's, Genuardi's, Randall's and Von's), Wal-Mart, A&P; (The Food Emporium, Pathmark, Super Fresh, Waldbaums), and Price Chopper.
To help ensure the long-term sustainability of fisheries and marine ecosystems, Greenpeace advocates the creation of a worldwide network of marine reserves and fisheries management based on a precautionary, ecosystem-based approach. Today, supermarkets can help the oceans and meet consumer demand for sustainable products by refusing to sell seafood from fisheries that:
• exploit endangered, vulnerable and/or protected species, or species with poor stock status;
• cause habitat destruction and/or lead to ecosystem alterations;
• cause negative impacts on other, non-target species;
• are unregulated, unreported, illegal or managed poorly, and
• cause negative impacts on local, fishing dependent communities.