Whole Foods Move Can Only Benefit Responsible Aquaculture

Whole Foods Market‘s decision, announced yesterday, to stop selling red-listed seafood — if seriously and diligently executed — can only benefit responsible aquaculture operators.

Starting Earth Day, April 22,Whole Foods — the 500-pound gorilla of the natural/organic/sustainable/local retail food world — says it will no longer carry wild-caught seafood that is “red-rated,” a color code that indicates it is either overfished or caught in a way that harms other species. The ratings are determined by the Blue Ocean Institute, an advocacy group, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California.

It has long irked me to see Whole Foods offering red-listed seafood, and if supermarket chain is serious about this latest move it will only up the ante for other retailers that wish to reach more-affluent, ecologically conscious consumers. In the short term, it should lead to rising prices for seafood that can be verified as sustainably sourced — “bad news” for those of us who want to buy responsibly, but higher prices create a greater incentive for new players to get into the sustainable supply chain and existing operators to become more fastidious in their practices.

Who will step up to seize this opportunity?

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