Shoppers at Whole Foods now have something else to feel smug about.
The eco-grocer says it will stop selling "red-rated" wild caught seafood as of April 22 (Earth Day).
A red rating indicates a species is overfished or that its harvest produces excessive bycatch or undesirable habitat impacts.
|New York's venerable Fulton Fish Market, which has moved to the Bronx.|
Congress requires precautionary management of fish. If a species does become overfished — and the vast majority are not — Congress requires it to be managed in such a way that rebuilding will take no longer than 10 years.
In other words, you should have no pangs of conscience for consuming fish harvested in U.S. waters. Moreover, there are plenty of reasons, beginning with your good health, to eat them.
Well-intentioned consumers might ask how advocates such as the Blue Ocean Institute and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which rate seafood for Whole Foods, can look at the same data U.S. fishery regulators see and come to their alarmist conclusions. The answer can only be that they don't look at the data.
For example, Monterey Bay lists monkfish as a species to avoid because of sea mammal and turtle bycatch in the gillnet fishery and habitat impacts in the trawl fishery. The reality is that gear modification and areas closures have minimized gillnet bycatch, and trawl impacts are negligible on the muddy and sandy bottom where trawlers catch monks.
"Sustainability" is an ideal that has become a buzzword, so think critically on the subject. For example, the Whole Foods business model is predicated on convincing you that by shopping there, you're saving the world.
Act locally and save yourself. For practical advice about eating seafood, visit the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's FishWatch web site at http://www.fishwatch.gov/index.htm.