Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

 

33 Comments

Comments

brownsteinc says ...
Thanks for your support, Anita! Through our partnership with the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Blue Ocean Institute, we're using the ratings of these organizations. Their rating criteria do not include contaminants such as mercury. However, similarly to what I said in my response to blog reader Craig, we offer information about mercury in all of our seafood departments through our mercury brochure. Please check it out for information on which species are typically lowest in mercury. Thanks for writing...
09/20/2010 2:55:00 PM CDT
Michele says ...
While color labeled, Whole Foods is still choosing to sell environmentally harmful fish. That is not admirable.
09/20/2010 8:51:27 PM CDT
brownsteinc says ...
Thank you for writing in, Krista. For this program, we are relying upon the fishery research and ratings by our partnering organizations, Blue Ocean Institute and Monterey Bay Aquarium. I forwarded your comment to the aquarium and here’s what they had to say:   The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch recommendations draw a clear distinction between Oregon-caught salmon from the Columbia River (landed north of Cape Falcon – a “good alternative” because Columbia fish stocks are in moderately healthy condition) and salmon from the Sacramento River (landed south of Cape Falcon – fish to “avoid” because of the precarious state of the fish stocks). The distinction – and the science behind it – is available online at http://bit.ly/9gwhN. The key factor is that Sacramento River fall-run Chinook, which support fisheries in California and most of Oregon, are at a record low abundance and have failed to meet projected escapement goals for three consecutive years. The decision to open the fishery this year was based on another forecast that the fishery would meet its escapement goals in 2010. In our view, a precautionary approach requires demonstrated evidence of improvement, not a projection or forecast of improvement, before you reopen a fishery – especially one in as much trouble as Pacific salmon.   We encourage you to contact the aquarium with any specific points you’d like to discuss about a fishery: http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/sg/sg_fb_mailroom.aspx.
09/16/2010 6:15:51 PM CDT
brownsteinc says ...
Hey Sean, Thanks for your comments. You raised a number of topics. First, we source locally caught and farmed seafood as much as possible. Furthermore, the new seafood rating program in our stores is based upon the sustainability criteria of our partners, Blue Ocean Institute and Monterey Bay Aquarium. The criteria do not address carbon footprint at this time. While we continue to source as much local seafood as we can, we’ll look more into carbon footprint in the future. However, my understanding is that evaluating carbon footprint is often greatly oversimplified. You can’t just look at how far the final product traveled (i.e. distance) from point of catch to point of sale to assess the carbon footprint. The energy costs associated with various methods of production, how products are stored (fresh vs. frozen), and exactly how they’re transported (plane vs. ship), etc., all contribute to the carbon footprint. At this time, we don’t have all the data available to fully evaluate the carbon footprint of all seafood products. In the meantime, we work hard to address other sustainability concerns, such as the status of the fish population, bycatch, etc.   Please understand that while a final rating is represented by one simple color, there’s peer reviewed research behind each rating. Since it’s our partnering organizations that do the ratings, I passed your comment about cod onto Blue Ocean Institute. Here’s what they had to say:   Our color-coded seafood rankings represent extensive research that is peer-reviewed for scientific accuracy and then displayed online for full transparency. We use a quantitative ranking system to examine 5 core points (each with 8 sub-questions or 'points of adjustment'), and the final numeric score is translated into a corresponding color. Consumers can rest assured that our easy-to-use system represents authoritative science.   Looking at our comprehensive report for Atlantic Cod, we do point out that Gulf of Maine spawning biomass has increased in recent years (see "Abundance" in our cod report: http://blueocean.org/seafood/seafood-view?spc_id=56). However, considering the population status in other parts of Atlantic Cod's range (e.g., George's Bank), the improvements in the Gulf of Maine aren't currently enough to elevate the Atlantic Cod ranking above a red. As with all of our seafood, as new information on populations becomes available, we will factor it into our reports.   To get more info on our rankings, including full reports and details on our methodology, please visit: http://blueocean.org/seafood. If you have any outstanding questions, don't hesitate to contact us at info@blueocean.org.
09/14/2010 2:33:29 PM CDT
tye block says ...
I have to agree that while you are trying to implement positive change - the time is NOW. Species are being wiped out rapidly and action should be taken.
09/22/2010 3:10:51 PM CDT
Becky says ...
I'd like to respond to Searr.....I live in Alaska, and am involved in the commerical fishing industry there. My family are commercial fishermen, we own our boat, we fish our catch, and have them processed and sent to restaurants and markets in the lower 48...please, do not tell me that the family fishermen in Alaska are a thing of the past, thats so not true. You want to speak of bycatch, in Alaska you can be fined if you have bycatch of certain species....our fisheries can be open for two hours and closed, because never, ever, is the survival of a species placed second to the commerical fishing industry. Alaska has set the standard, we are a model for the world. Commercial fisheries can survive, without damaging the populations of the wild fish. We are the model of sustainability when it comes to fisheries..non other can compare to us, and the lengths that we take to protect this fishery for generations to come. We have no industry other than seafood, our waters are pristine, and untouched by the pollutants of man from industry. Seafood labeling should be done in a manner that is not confusing..organic standards for farm raised fish, that swim in poop infested areas, and are given more antibiotics than anyother living species that we use for food, is ludicrious. Farm raised fish have diseases that are all their own, just because you can make more of something does not mean that it is sustainable. They feed them cornmeal, wild fish that should be eaten by the wild population..and I could go on and on...Alaska waters are free of floating farm raised fish pens, they are illegal here. Now they are genetically engineering fish, just think about the dangers that they can pose, to the environnment, and your children...it will be years and years before they talk about the effects of them, but one thing I will know, is that I never ate one...:) Wild caught should always be sustainably harvested, however, that is just a dream until other fisheries implement what we did in the 1950s in Alaska...our state consitution protects our fisheries, and has done so since the 1950s....the survival of a species to thrive, should never, ever take second to the fisheries....if it's not plentiful, we don't fish it. We actually have men that count the fish and species as they swim by to assure that enough salmon go upstream to spawn and provide a healthy new run. I have pamplets that I would gladly share with anyone of you, if you are interested in learning more about wild Alaskan seafood...fishermentochef@innernet.net
09/27/2010 2:20:34 AM CDT
Becky says ...
I'm sorry I have more thing to say....Good job Whole Foods, atleast one of the major food chains is striving to educate, and change the seafood industry...:) Just want to thank you for the efforts that you are making, our oceans are in dire condition, and need folks such as you that are in the forefront, to take a stand...Congratulations on your educating efforts, I hope all lend an ear your direction...enjoy your blogs always..
09/27/2010 2:27:02 AM CDT
Heather says ...
I'm so glad I found this. Hubby picked out fish by himself while we were shopping there today and I came home with Chilean Seabass. I had never had it and when I started looking up recipes I saw that they were in danger. I am so thankful to see yours are only from a certified fishery. :)
08/11/2012 10:16:43 PM CDT

Pages