AUSTIN, Texas (June 15, 2001) As seafood grows more popular with today's consumers, a snapshot of the world's marine stocks shows 60 percent are fully fished, over-exploited, depleted or recovering at a slow rate, according to the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization. This global problem can be tackled, one fishery at a time, by rewarding fishermen and fisheries that practice environmentally-sound fishing methods.
“Seafood populations in all parts of the worlds' oceans are in trouble today and their depletion affects us all directly as it limits local choices now and for future generations,” according to Scott Burns, Director of World Wildlife Fund's Marine Conservation Program. “The good news is that efforts are underway to manage targeted fish populations to recover to healthy levels and help maintain the structure of the marine eco-system that fish need to survive and thrive.”
As part of its commitment to offer consumers seafood from renewable sources, Whole Foods Market is partnering with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to promote sustainable fishing practices by providing a sustainably-harvested option while educating consumers about the importance of seafood sustainability. The emphasis is on the first North American seafood product to earn MSC certification — wild Alaska salmon — which is now available at all 120-plus Whole Foods Market stores nationwide.
“Whole Foods Market actively supports initiatives that allow marine life to recover and flourish and we constantly look to provide our customers with seafood from well-managed sources,” said Steve Parkes, National Seafood Coordinator for Whole Foods Market. “We applaud certification program backed by the MSC as it gives our customers the buying power to influence the management of fisheries as well as the confidence that purchasing MSC label-bearing products will not contribute to overfishing or the harming of marine ecosystems.”
Fish For Our Future
From mid-June through mid-July — the height of wild Alaska salmon season — Whole Foods Market will urge consumers to “Fish For Our Future” by providing educational materials about the importance of sustainable seafood practices, the MSC, and wild Alaska salmon accompanied by tasty summer recipes. Additionally, Whole Foods Market will donate partial proceeds from the sale of select Whole Foods Market branded products that complement the preparation of wild Alaska salmon. Each product will be identified with signage indicating purchasing the product benefits the MSC certification programs, enabling the MSC to continue to help other fisheries adopt sustainable practices and ultimately making it easier for consumers to buy more and more sustainably-harvested seafood.
On Saturday, June 30, all Whole Foods Market stores nationwide will host a special “Fish For Our Future” day providing wild Alaska salmon tasting opportunities. In several markets, local celebrity chefs will be making cooking demonstration appearances throughout the month at the stores. Recipes and information about seafood sustainability will be available in the seafood department and throughout the store as well as at www.wholefoodsmarket.com.
Whole Foods Market Director of Creative Food Development, Chef Steve Petusevsky, will also be touring key cities to discuss simple and healthy recipe ideas for wild Alaska salmon. “Americans are enjoying seafood more than ever before as it is a healthy and delicious food source,” said Petusevsky. “The wild Alaska salmon is bursting with bright natural color and a robust flavor that is second-to-none, making it well-suited for casual or elegant dining.”
Making a Difference
Consumers can play an important role in fisheries adopting sustainable practices. When shoppers seek out and buy certified, sustainably-managed fish and seafood, they are sending a clear message with their dollars — which is a tangible incentive for the fishing industry — that fisheries practicing environmentally-sound, economical, and socially-responsible fishery management practices will be rewarded in the marketplace.
“As one of the first U.S. companies to partner with the MSC, Whole Foods Market has set an example for the retail industry to take action and reward fisheries that follow sustainable seafood management practices,” said Karen Tarica, U.S. Communications Director for MSC. “Whole Foods Market is also setting an example for consumers by taking a leadership role in the area of sustainable seafood by not only providing consumers with the best environmental choice in seafood, but also explaining why it is important.”
Everyone can help support healthier oceans and improved management of our oceans' resources by…
- Looking for the MSC sustainability logo on seafood products, including wild Alaska salmon. By doing so, you are voting for sustainability with your dollars.
- Visiting “Take Action Centers” at all Whole Foods Markets for the latest information on sustainability issues.
- Knowing your elected officials and how they vote on environmental issues. Let them know seafood sustainability is an important issue to you.
- Volunteering for restoration projects with environmental groups such as the World Wildlife Fund, Ocean Trust, the Nature Conservancy and National Audubon Society. A few hours of your time can make a big difference.