Whole Foods Shifts To Greener Seafood Choices

10:30 PM, Apr 20, 2012   |    comments
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SILVER SPRING, Md., (WUSA) -- There's a sea change of sorts taking place behind the seafood counter of Whole Foods stores.

"Whenever I see food that's yellow, I would avoid buying it.  And, I was actually looking to see if they had anything that was red just to make sure that I don't get it," says shopper Matthew Reif.

Getting those colors into our conscience is just what the nation's first certified organic grocer want to do. 

Red coded means it is overfished and harms other species which make it unsustainable.  Yellow and green are better, according to ratings form the Blue Ocean Institute.

"The fish won't be left after awhile, so not only are you hurting the fish itself, you're hurting yourself or future generations for not being able to enjoy it like you are," says seafood team leader Sara Haser.

Starting this Sunday, Whole Foods will no longer sell the questionable catch.  The company chose Earth Day to move forward and hopes more of us will take the bait.

"If you want to enjoy fishing into the future, you've go to act now.  You've got to start acting responsibility in how you harvest the sea," says fishmonger Steve Cheek.

And, there are several fish that will no longer make it to your plate, from these stores, Atlantic halibut, certain types of cod or even octopus.

So, let's talk alternatives now, because you don't have to completely give up the fish you love.  If you want Sturgeon try Chilean Sea Bass.  If you like Turbo try American Placie. If you like Gray Sole try Tilapia.

The education is already creating success stories, take the striped bass.

Cheek says, "At one point, this fish was considered overfished and now it's a green rank."

"I think anything that helps us to contribute is a good thing," says shopper Sheila Maith.

How To Chose Quality Seafood

Whole Foods hopes that changing what and how we buy will protect the ocean, our health and will sustain the food group that so many of us enjoy.

Now, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOA says sustainability is not one size fits all.


And, they say avoiding certain species is not a silver bullet.  A spokesperson tells 9 News Now that if a fish is "wild caught" in U.S. waters it is sustainable.

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