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Whole Foods Market: Sustainable seafood only

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Whole Foods Market has announced that as of Earth Day 2012, stores will no longer sell seafood from depleted waters or collected through environmentally damaging means.

As reported by Treehugger, the Austin, Texas based grocery store chain is banning all seafood that is rated red, as in “avoid,” by a color code established in partnership with the Blue Ocean Institute and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Green is the highest rating or “best choice,” for abundant species caught in environmentally friendly ways. Yellow is a “good alternative,” although there might still be concerns with catch methods or species status.

“They'll be the first (and so far only, but we hope that will change) national grocer to do so,” says Carl Safina of the Blue Ocean Institute to the Huffington Post. “Their original target date was one year from now. But they're so committed, they got there a year early.” Whole Foods Market has been working with the Marine Stewardship Council since the late ‘90s on sustainable seafood certification.

It’s the latest step in an ongoing process for stores to sell responsible seafood. Back in 2010, our own Molly Peterson and Greenpeace representative/red-yellow-green advocate Casson Trenor looked at seafood sold in a series of Southern California outlets, including Whole Foods Market, which received fairly high marks at the time.

"As a sustainable chef for 30 years, I can't tell you how stoked I am that Whole Foods is removing red-rated seafood from their shelves,” said Chef Michael Nissan of Connecticut restaurant Dressing Room to the Huffington Post.