Sustainable Wild-Caught Seafood
When you shop for wild-caught seafood, you may wonder where it comes from and whether supplies are dwindling. No worries in our seafood department. Fresh or frozen, we have traceability from fishery to store. And, we only sell wild-caught seafood from fisheries that are certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or rated either “Green” or “Yellow” by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch and The Safina Center. We don’t sell any of the red-rated seafood you might find at other grocery stores.
Wild-Caught Seafood Sustainability Logos at Whole Foods Market®
What you won't find in our Seafood Department:
There are certain types of seafood that we do not carry in our Seafood and Prepared Foods departments for various reasons.
- Seafood rated Red by Seafood Watch
- Shark (all species)
- Lake Victoria Perch
- Orange Roughy
- Marlin (exception: Hawaii-caught Blue Marlin in our Hawaii stores only)
- Bluefin Tuna
- Seafood from the seal hunting area of Canada (PEI, Magdalen Islands and Labrador)
- Live lobsters and crabs
Note: Ratings may change as our partners update their fishery assessments.
About Lobster at Whole Foods Market®
If you’re looking for live lobsters in our stores, you won’t find them. In 2006, we discontinued selling live lobsters because of the stresses on the animals related to almost all steps in the chain from harvest to cooking. The exceptions are unique live-lobster tanks in our Portland, Maine and Hyannis, Massachusetts (summer only) stores, which we permit due to proximity to carefully vetted suppliers using specific approved handling techniques. What you will find in all of our stores’ seafood departments are fresh or frozen raw lobster tails, and cooked lobster products, from suppliers that follow strict handling and processing standards considered by scientists to be more humane to the species. See our complete lobster standards here
Our Partners in Seafood Sustainability
Marine Stewardship Council
In 1999, Whole Foods Market became the first U.S. retailer to collaborate with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), the world’s leading certification program for sustainable wild-caught seafood. They use a multi-stakeholder, international approach to provide incentives for fisheries to address key issues such as overfishing and bycatch. Fisheries are evaluated by experts from independent agencies to determine whether the population is maintained at healthy levels, the ecosystem is intact and the fishery management system is effective.
Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch and The Safina Center
In 2010, we began partnering with nonprofits Monterey Bay Aquarium and The Safina Center to provide color-coded sustainability ratings for wild-caught seafood we offer that is not certified by Marine Stewardship Council. On Earth Day 2012, we stopped selling any red-rated seafood so that every choice in our seafood department is a responsible choice.