Whole Foods Market Becomes Latest Retail Member of IPNLF
(UNITED STATES, 5/17/2017)
Whole Foods Market has become the latest retail Member of the International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF), the non-profit association that is committed to supporting small-scale fisheries that pursue high quality, responsible and ethical tuna caught using one-by-one methods. With the backing of its Members, IPNLF provides much-needed support for fishing communities who are heavily reliant upon those fisheries, through practical fisheries improvements and stronger management to meet the growing global demand.
America’s Healthiest Grocery Store™ underlines its commitment to sustainable one-by-one tuna.
Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market is the leading natural and organic foods retailer in the United States. It currently has more than 460 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, and employs approximately 87,000 team members.
Whole Foods Market’s membership of IPNLF is the latest step in the company’s efforts to move the seafood industry toward greater sustainability. Earlier this year, Whole Foods Market announced a new sourcing policy for sustainable, traceable canned tuna – becoming the first retailer in the United States to create storewide requirements spanning grocery products and prepared foods items.
Sustainable tuna cat food, available exclusively at Whole Foods Market.
Through this commitment, by January 2018 all canned tuna sold in its stores will meet rigorous sustainability and traceability requirements that aim to reduce overfishing and by-catch, and support fishing communities. Under the new policy, all of the canned tuna sold at Whole Foods Market must come from fisheries using only one-by-one catch methods. These fisheries must also either be certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or rated green or yellow by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and The Safina Center. This includes canned tuna items in the grocery aisles as well as in the prepared foods department.
Every supplier must also use Trace Register traceability software that tracks the tuna from vessel to can. Traceability data is continuously crosschecked to help verify sourcing and prevent illegally caught fish from entering the supply chain.
“Joining the International Pole & Line Foundation amplifies our collective efforts to be a positive force for change for our oceans and the fishing communities who depend on them,” said Carrie Brownstein, Global Seafood Quality Standards Coordinator for Whole Foods Market. “IPNLF has been a key partner, helping us to develop our new canned tuna sourcing policy, and supporting Whole Foods Market’s mission to move the seafood industry toward greater sustainability.”
Whole Foods, in partnership with American Tuna has introduced The Pole & Line tuna via fishermen from the United States and the Maldives who catch tuna using a sustainable method.
Commenting on Whole Foods Market’s membership,Adam Baske, Director Policy & Outreach at IPNLF, says, “We are delighted to welcome Whole Foods Market as our latest retail Member. It is a company that has long stood at the forefront of North America’s sustainable seafood movement; a position that is supported by the strict standards it has placed on all of the fresh and frozen fish and shellfish that it sources."
Fishing for tuna by pole-and-line, handline or troll (using one hookand one line to catch tuna one at a time - collectively known as one-by-one fishing) is widely practised by many small-scale coastal fisheries throughout the world, and is deeply embedded in many cultures. It is regarded as the most socially and environmentally responsible way to fish for tuna as it results virtually zero bycatch and has minimal impact on the environment.
Adam Baske added, "Its new canned tuna policy raises this commitment to another level by recognising the unprecedented demand from sustainability-savvy consumers for tuna caught by one-by-one fishing methods and that trustworthy sources of the product need to be secured now and long into the future. It further distinguishes one-by-one tuna fishing as a crucial economic activity that has for centuries enabled many coastal fishing communities in many countries to maintain their livelihoods and decent living standards while also safeguarding the long-term future of vital fish stocks and marine habitats.”
Pole and Line fishing method.
Membership of IPNLF is open to all stakeholders involved in the one-by-one tuna supply chain, from fisheries associations to processors, foodservice and retailers, and all Members are encouraged to engage in fisheries improvement.
About Whole Foods Market
Founded in 1978 in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market is the leading natural and organic foods supermarket, the first national “Certified Organic” grocer, and uniquely positioned as America’s Healthiest Grocery Store™. In fiscal year 2016, the company had sales of approximately USD 16 billion and currently has 469 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Whole Foods Market seafood counter.
The International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF) works to develop, support and promote socially and environmentally responsible pole-and-line and handline tuna fisheries around the world. IPNLF’s ambition is to contribute to thriving coastal fisheries, including the people, communities, businesses and seas connected with them.