Seafood Sustainability at Whole Foods

How does Whole Foods score on seafood sustainability?

Overall Sustainability


Score Explanation

Whole Foods ranks as the top grocery store for seafood sustainability. The retailer offers the most ocean-friendly canned tuna products of any major U.S. store and supports sustainable fishing practices. Unfortunately, it still carries a high number of Red List species.

Policy Explanation

Has a very strong public sustainable seafood policy; however, it needs to develop a sustainable canned tuna policy. The company has also taken a public stance in refusing to purchase GMO seafood.

Transparency Explanation

Uses a robust labeling program with the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Safina Center designed to increase point-of-purchase information for customers. Provides sustainability information on its website and training for seafood counter staff.

Initiatives Explanation

Actively supports seafood sustainability or conservation initiatives. Greenpeace applauds the company for publicly calling for the protection of the Bering Sea Canyons and for calling on Congress to tackle illegal fishing.

Red List Explanation

Sells 14 of the 22 Red List species: Atlantic halibut, Chilean sea bass, Alaska pollock, Atlantic cod, Atlantic salmon, Atlantic sea scallop, bigeye tuna, Greenland halibut, monkfish, red snapper, skates and rays, swordfish, tropical shrimp, and yellowfin tuna.



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Red List


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Source: 2015 Carting Away The Oceans Report

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Frequently Asked Questions

on seafood sustainability at Whole Foods

Q: Should I buy canned tuna at Whole Foods?
A: Whole Foods brand tuna is sustainably caught. You can also find sustainable third party brands like Wild Planet.
Q: Is it ok to shop at the Whole Foods seafood counter?
A: Most items at the seafood counter are sustainable, as Whole Foods has a strong sustainable seafood policy.
Q: What seafood should I never buy at Whole Foods?
A: Unfortunately, this retailer carries 14 Red List species. Avoid all Red List species—especially Chilean sea bass, bigeye tuna, skates and rays, and Atlantic halibut.
Q: Is there anything I can do to encourage more sustainable practices at Whole Foods?
A: Yes—you can add your name to the petition asking Whole Foods to use more sustainable practices.

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UPDATED: Your Seafood may be Caught by Slaves

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