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Sound Solutions to Red-Rated Seafood

Choose wild-caught seafood that is relatively abundant and caught in environmentally friendly ways, and you’ll get delicious fish and will help ensure fish for future generations.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reports that 80 percent of fisheries are fully exploited, overfished, depleted or recovering from depletion. With seafood growing in demand, it’s critical that everyone gets on board to reverse this trend and build a more responsible seafood supply chain.

What is Whole Foods Market doing? We recently announced that as of Earth Day 2012 — April 22 — we will no longer carry red-rated wild-caught fish in our seafood departments! Wild-caught seafood from fisheries certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is the top choice for sustainability and we offer the widest selection available.

Plus, we display the color-coded sustainability ratings of our partners, Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA) and Blue Ocean Institute (BOI), on all wild-caught seafood that’s not certified by MSC to help customers make informed choices.

  • GREEN / BEST CHOICE: species are abundant and caught in environmentally friendly ways

  • YELLOW  / GOOD ALTERNATIVE: species with some concerns about their status or catch methods

  • RED / AVOID: species suffers from overfishing or the current fishing methods harm other marine life or habitats

By no longer carrying red-rated species, all our wild-caught seafood will either be yellow or green-rated or certified by the MSC. This is our way of supporting our oceans.
What can you do? By purchasing wild-caught seafood that is certified by the MSC or yellow or green-rated, not only will you take home a delicious piece of fish but also the peace of mind that you are doing your part to ensure fish for future generations.

If you’re looking for ocean-friendly alternatives to commonly purchased red-rated species, here are some great options.

Red-rated Species: Trawl-caught Atlantic cod Choose instead: Line-caught cod or MSC-certified Pacific cod

Red-rated Species: Octopus Choose instead: Calamari (squid): green-or yellow-rated by BOI, depending on the fishery

Red-rated Species: Grey sole Choose instead: Dover sole: yellow-rated by BOI or MBA

Red-rated Species: Swordfish Choose instead: Swordfish from MSC-certified fisheries, such as harpoon fisheries in Nova Scotia or the Florida handline/landline fisheries

Red-rated Species: Yellowfin tuna Choose instead: Tuna from Maldives: green-rated by BOI or MBA

Red-rated Species: Sturgeon Choose instead: Responsibly Farmed Trout sold at our stores

Red-rated Species: Turbot Choose instead: MSC-certified Pacific halibut

Red-rated Species: Tautog Choose instead: US-caught yellowtail snapper: green-rated by BOI or MBA

Red-rated Species: Skate wing Choose instead: Atlantic flounder: yellow-rated by BOI or MBA

Red-rated Species: Atlantic halibut Choose instead: MSC-certified Pacific halibut

Red-rated Species: Imported wild-caught shrimp Choose instead: Domestic wild-caught shrimp: yellow- or green-rated by BOI or MBA depending upon US location

Our skilled fishmongers will gladly give you their recommendations. They can also fillet, cut-to-order and provide cooking tips and recipe ideas, too. So, if you’re ready to swap out red-rated seafood for a better choice, try these recipes featuring green- or yellow- rated species. Learn more about what to substitute for red-rated species and how to cook them during our tweet chat with Chef Michel Nischan. Use the hashtag #WFMFish to follow the conversation. Learn how to chat with us.

Tweet Chat with Chef Michel Nischan – April 26 at 6 p.m. CST

Fishing for more information? Visit wholefoodsmarket.com/wfmfish to read more about our sustainable seafood initiative including our strict Quality Standards for Aquaculture.

Have you already made the conscious choice to only purchase wild-caught seafood that is relatively abundant and caught in environmentally friendly ways? Tell us about it.

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