Wednesday, June 18, 2008

U.S. Supermarkets not doing enough to protect fish - Greenpeace report

By Beth Daley, Globe Staff

One subject you really get to know as a New England environment reporter is fish. Cod, haddock, dogfish, fluke - I can identify them all and even, when pressed, point out a mucus-spewing hagfish.

But I still get confused at the fish display in supermarkets. Is U.S. caught tuna okay to buy? Is eating decades-old Chilean sea bass really sustainable? There is so much conflicting information, I sometimes stand for ten minutes trying to remember if it's okay if I bake cod for dinner.

Where are you buying your fish?

A number of programs, including from the New England Aquarium, exist to help consumers choose fish wisely, but Greenpeace today went a step further and released a report that grades supermarkets on their sustainable seafood policies and practices.

It's not good news. The report shows that most U.S. supermarkets continue to purchase seafood with little consideration for the health of fish stocks they sell and even less concern for where or how seafood was caught.
No supermarket did well, with the top scorers receiving only four out of ten possible points. The top five markets are:

Whole Foods, Ahold USA, Harris Teeter, Wegmans and WalMart. At the bottom of the list are Supervalu, Trader Joe's, H.E. Butt, Price Chopper and Publix.

Supermarkets were graded on buying practices, support for sustainability, labeling, transparency and how many Greenpeace-determined "Red List" products - 22 of the world's most destructively fished and farmed species - were for sale.

Still, there is some good news. Several large supermarkets are developing seafood policies and are beginning to remove some of the most endangered species from their shelves, the report notes.

Original here

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