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Wegmans, Target and Whole Foods were among the supermarkets that scored favourably in the survey. (Photo: Greenpeace, Robert Meyers)

Seafood retailers improving sustainability policies: Greenpeace

Click on the flag for more information about United States UNITED STATES
Thursday, April 29, 2010, 23:30 (GMT + 9)

The fourth edition of Greenpeace’s seafood sustainability scorecard shows efforts to provide safer and more sustainable seafood options for customers in some of the largest US seafood retailers. Half of the country’s leading supermarkets have unprecedentedly earned passing grades in the organisation’s Carting Away the Oceans scorecard.

Supermarkets such as Wegmans, Target and Whole Foods have scored favourably. Conversely, many supermarkets have not taken any responsibility for the seafood they sell, such as HEB, Meijer, Costco, SUPERVALU, Publix and Winn-Dixie.

"For the first time, half of the leading supermarket chains in the US received passing scores in the sustainability of their seafood operations. It is positive news, but we still have a long way to go," said Casson Trenor of Greenpeace, KGO-TV reports.

One of the worst historical performers in Carting Away the Oceans rankings has been Trader Joe’s, and Greenpeace has engaged in a direct “Traitor Joe’s” campaign to expose the chain’s practices over the past seven months. Last August, Greenpeace initiated a series of online and on-the-ground actions addressing the company’s lack of a sustainable seafood policy, misleading labelling practices and unsustainable inventory items.

Trader Joe’s is now allegedly discussing a partnership with a trustworthy third party to help in making sustainable decisions. Trader Joe’s is also designing a public sustainable seafood policy along with new labelling, and it has already stopped selling numerous of its former red list items, such as orange roughy and red snapper.

A&P (Food Emporium, Pathmark, Super Fresh, Waldbaum’s) and Delhaize (Bloom, Food Lion, Hannaford Bros, Sweetbay) have improved their sustainability standards too, both earning passing grades by Greenpeace for the first time.

Meanwhile, Target has risen to the top of the Carting Away the Oceans rankings. It is the only chain whose seafood standards exclude the sale of any farmed salmon whatsoever – and which has thus shaken the aquaculture industry.

Recent scientific studies have demonstrated that 90 per cent of the world’s top predatory fish have vanished from the seas, and thus that unless fishing practices change, fish stocks across the globe will collapse by mid-century. Supermarkets sell nearly USD 16 billion worth of seafood yearly, and much of it is harvested or raised unsustainably.

Supermarkets therefore have a responsibility to their customers and the environment to eschew dealing seafood from harmful fisheries and aquaculture operations, Greenpeace said.

The green group first launched Carting Away the Oceans in June 2008 to record how key supermarkets are performing on sustainable seafood, and provides consumers with tools to make educated decisions about where to shop and what to purchase.

Related article:

- Trader Joe’s introduces sustainable seafood policy

By Natalia Real
[email protected]
www.fis.com

Photo Courtesy of FIS Member  Greenpeace Germany
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