Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

We're Ranked #1 by Greenpeace for Seafood Sustainability

By David Pilat, June 1, 2013  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by David Pilat

Color us proud! Whole Foods Market® is ranked #1 in Greenpeace’s just-released 2013 Seafood Sustainability Scorecard as the retail leader with the most rigorous sustainable seafood policies in the industry.

Virginia Beach

It takes a lot of work to maintain what we know is the strongest and most complex sourcing policy of any of the 20 retailers that were examined in Greenpeace’s report. Most recently we extended our policy to include highly specific benchmarks and metrics for mollusk aquaculture.  Our strict aquaculture standards for all species require fish farms to minimize the environmental impacts of their operations and have protocols in place to prevent fish from escaping. Antibiotics, growth hormones, and poultry and mammalian by-products may not be used in feed and strong traceability measures ensure farmed seafood is tracked from farm to store.

When it comes to our sustainable seafood policies for wild-caught fish,  through our pioneering labeling program in concert with the Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA) and the Blue Ocean Institute (BOI), we’re able to provide information at the point-of-sale regarding the sustainability status of our wild-caught fish not already designated as Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified. And, on Earth Day 2012 we made the significant commitment to no longer sell red-rated fish, using the MBA and BOI lists, which also included discontinuing six species listed on Greenpeace’s Red List.


Still, we do want to correct one area that Greenpeace didn’t have it right: Although we do sell Chilean sea bass, with a purchasing policy to only buy from such fisheries that are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, we do not currently, nor do we plan to in the future, source Chilean sea bass from the controversial Ross Sea area near Antarctica.

It feels good to be recognized as the top retailer in the United States for seafood sustainability. From our strict purchasing policies, our active partnerships with suppliers and external organizations to encourage responsible practices, and our constant work to keep our customers informed and our seafood Team Members trained about our sourcing requirements, seafood sustainability remains top of mind for Whole Foods Market.

Category: Seafood, Company Info




Peter Young says ...
Congratulations Wholefoods!! Well deserved recognition for your courage not to sell, for your values, foresight and care of the Ocean. I am delighted you do NOT source Chilean Seabass from the ROSS SEA - Earth's most pristine marine ecosystem. If anyone wants to find out more about the issues relating to the fishery there - check out www.lastocean.org Keep up the great work WF's, you have our support. Peter Young Co-founder The Last Ocean Trust
06/02/2013 11:36:06 AM CDT
David Ainley says ...
Thank you for coming out in support of the Ross Sea. This means a lot!!!!
06/02/2013 12:46:25 PM CDT
Philippa Ross says ...
As the Great Great Great Grandaughter of Sir James Clark Ross who discovered the Ross Sea, I am delighted to hear that Wholefoods do not source their chilean seabass from this pristine sancturary. Good to know that they're some corporations that work with integrity and its not just about the money.
06/02/2013 3:24:23 PM CDT
jocelyn buerkley says ...
THANK YOU, WHOLE FOODS! This issue is near and dear to my heart. I will pass this information along to all my family and friends. Whole Foods has always been my "go to" grocery store. It makes me very proud and happy! Thank you again!
06/02/2013 3:59:45 PM CDT
Rebecca says ...
It's great to hear of a company who is taking a truelly ethical approach to sourcing the food they sell. Anyone who has been snorkeling or scuba diving or even just swimming in a protected area will know of the incredible diversity and beauty of the aquatic environment. Intensive fishing can disrupt and often destroy ocean ecosystems, so it's hard to buy fish these days and still keep a clear conscience. Companies like you give us hope though! I was especially happy to hear you don't source Chilean Sea Base from Antartica. Well done on all your achievements in ensuring the fish you sell were farmed or caught sustainably, it can't have been easy.
06/02/2013 6:00:29 PM CDT
MollyG says ...
Thank you! We appreciate your dedication to making the environment a priority and for supporting efforts to protect the Antarctic Toothfish by not sourcing fish from the Ross Sea.
06/03/2013 9:19:29 AM CDT
Bill Ferris says ...
Thank you Dave for an excellent summary and for correcting Greenpeace error. It is nice to know that the hard and tedious work is paying off. On behalf of all WFM fishmongers, thanks for your representation and all you do.
06/05/2013 5:11:05 PM CDT
Terry Gold says ...
I am very happy to see your position on Chilean Sea Bass. I believe we should preserve the Ross Sea, and I appreciate Whole Food's support to do that. I am a customer and I think about this issue every time I buy fish at Whole Foods. Thank you!
06/05/2013 5:21:52 PM CDT
Jason D says ...
It's wonderful to see that your company is making environmentally responsible purchases regarding seafood. Keep it up!
06/05/2013 5:28:39 PM CDT
David Duffy says ...
Thank you for helping to protect the Ross Sea with your decision not to sell sea bass from the Ross Sea. And may I say that I love your seafood section, although my wallet is usually noticeably lighter after a visit.
06/05/2013 5:36:42 PM CDT
Viola Toniolo says ...
Thank you, Whole Foods, for supporting the efforts to conserve the Ross Sea, which is the last intact marine ecosystem on earth.
06/05/2013 10:05:44 PM CDT
Ron Forbes says ...
Thank you, Whole Foods, for making your impact on the environment a priority. It's the right thing to do, and reaffirms why I love shopping with you.
06/06/2013 7:03:39 AM CDT
Davest says ...
Wholefoods, your policy not to source Chilean sea bass from the Ross Sea is to be applauded. I hope your policy extends to all fish from this important and fragile ocean area.
06/08/2013 1:36:57 PM CDT
Petronella I. Lazet-Polman says ...
congratulations on your decision not to deal with Sea bass from the Ross Sea. A good move, well done! Petronella from New Zealand
06/08/2013 5:02:09 PM CDT
Sue S, NZ says ...
Thank you for your commitment to protecting the Ross Sea.It is a stunningly beautiful, near pristine area and its marine life is unusually rich. Your policy of NOT sourcing Chilean Seabass (or any fish?) from the Ross Sea is a huge help in protecting this area and helps your discerning customers play their part in protecting the Ross Sea too.
06/09/2013 4:16:00 AM CDT
Warwick Jenness, Director, Maritime Research Group (NZ) says ...
Congratulations of you policy prohibiting the sale of Chilean sea bass in your stores. It can be hoped that other wholesales will follow your excellent and very responsible example. Great stuff.
06/09/2013 3:56:06 PM CDT
Roger Dennis says ...
Very pleased to see that you're not supporting fishing in the Ross Sea.
06/09/2013 6:11:21 PM CDT
Tina Karangaroa says ...
Thank you Wholefoods for taking a stance by not selling Chilean Seabass from the Ross Sea.
06/10/2013 4:33:19 PM CDT