Let’s face it—we are now destroying our oceans in the same way we have desecrated our soil and air.
Greenpeace's eighth-annual seafood sustainability report, Carting Away the Oceans, exposes the sourcing and sustainability efforts of 26 major retailers—not all of which scored well.
Roundy's, Bi-Lo, Save Mart and Publix failed on their seafood sourcing and sustainability efforts completely, and Kroger, the fifth-largest food retailer in the world, is cited as selling the most Red List species of any U.S. grocery chain for the third consecutive year.
Whole Foods and Safeway, however, topped the ranking guide.
“When Greenpeace started ranking America’s retailers on seafood sustainability in 2008, every company failed,” said James Mitchell, Greenpeace Senior Oceans Campaigner. “We’ve seen huge improvements since then, yet grocery giants like Kroger are still stocking too many threatened Red List species, which are often caught using highly destructive fishing methods.”
Greenpeace credits Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s for not stocking Bumblebee, Chicken of the Sea or StarKist’s tuna, all caught through destructive fishing methods such as the use of artificial floating objects that attract young tuna to the sea's surface.
The activist group reports that populations of the ocean’s top predators, including sharks, tuna and swordfish have declined 90 percent over the past half-century, and "Bycatch," in which species like sharks and turtles are unintentionally caught, then thrown back into the sea dead or dying, further threaten marine ecosystems and global food security.
Ryan Bigelow, outreach manager for Monterey Bay’s Seafood Watch program, told Triple Pundit, “We don’t really know what the impacts are to the broader ecosystem when we start pulling [fish] out in the numbers we do. When you have a very small creature that is a necessary prey item for so many other species and when you start pulling them out of the water, we really can’t say for certain how fast those impacts will be [felt].”
Bigelow suggests that consumers speak up for sustainable seafood and take control of their shopping habits. “If we all decide that we want blue fin tuna, then we’re going to drive overfishing in the market. And if we all decide we are going to pay a lot for that tuna, even more so. Really our ability to impact overfishing for positive or negative is built upon consumers’ relationships with businesses.”
Some of that consumer pressure is being realized at four of the top five supermarkets in the US, which will soon launch private label canned tuna products. "Consumers will now be able to find sustainable and affordable alternatives to destructively-caught tuna at Whole Foods, Safeway, Trader Joe’s, Hy-Vee, and Walmart."