AUSTIN, Texas (June 12, 2002) Seafood is growing more and more popular because of its high flavor profile and nutritional benefits. At the same time, more than half of the world's marine stocks are depleting at alarming rates due to overfishing and harvesting practices that damage the environment. To help keep our favorite seafood plentiful for future generations and to preserve our oceans, it is critical that we act now.

To help, Whole Foods Market has brought together Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, Chefs Collaborative, Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and World Wildlife Fund, forming the Fish For Our Future coalition to direct consumers to make the best environmental choices when purchasing seafood. Eco-friendly selections will, in the long run, encourage fisheries to adopt sustainable fishing practices that maintain healthy and diverse seafood populations for future generations to enjoy.

“As a retailer passionate about seeking out catches from well-managed sources, we want consumers to know that they have the power to encourage responsible fishing by choosing seafood from fisheries using ocean-friendly methods,” said Steve Parkes, National Seafood Coordinator for Whole Foods Market, the world's largest natural and organic supermarket. “We are proud to partner with key industry leaders and environmental stewards to demonstrate how we can help keep our oceans bountiful for tomorrow and enjoy the right choices of nutrient-rich seafood today.”

Look for the MSC Seal of Approval

The Fish For Our Future educational awareness campaign highlights wild Alaska salmon, the first North American seafood species to earn the seal of approval from the MSC, so consumers can readily identify seafood that has not been overfished or caught with methods that harm the ocean environment. Catch levels of MSC-certified seafood are monitored by a third party certifier, as are the age and gender of the fish being caught, which helps maintain population levels and appropriate reproductive capacity.

Fish for Our Future

From mid-June through the end of July — the height of wild Alaska salmon season — Whole Foods Market urges consumers to “Fish For Our Future” through in-store promotions by focusing on the importance of looking for the MSC seal of approval, the issue of overfishing and the power sustainably managed seafood purchases have on helping prompt change in the fishing industry. Whole Foods Market's more than 130 stores will feature in-store cooking demonstrations by local members of the Chefs Collaborative, take-home educational brochures and salmon recipes and the freshest, high-quality wild Alaska salmon offerings in both the seafood cases and in its chef-prepared meal selections.

Forever Delicious

Whole Foods Market chefs along with some of the country's top restaurant chefs prefer to use wild caught, sustainably managed seafood because its richer flavor and higher quality allows for a variety of beautiful and enjoyable dishes.

“I purchase sustainable seafood because it allows me to work with the most delicious, high-quality ingredients available,” says Stan Frankenthaler, Chefs Collaborative member and chef and owner of Salamander restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts. “Not only is sustainable seafood essential to my creative cooking style, but I'm proud to uphold my commitment to maintain an environmentally friendly business and lifestyle. Supporting sustainable food production is also about supporting the heritage, livelihood, and culture of a community. Fortunately, making that decision is also making the right decision as a chef to use only the most flavorful ingredients.”

Forever Healthy

Not only is seafood delicious, it is gaining popularity with a myriad of consumers as it also is considered a great source of protein and many coldwater fish — such as wild Alaska Salmon — are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are linked to a heart-healthy diet. In addition to lowering the risk of heart disease, omega-3s have been shown to aid in the development of brain, nerve and eye tissues during pregnancy and infancy, according to the American Dietetic Association. Since there are so many species of seafood available, adding it to your weekly diet is easy.

Making a Difference

To support healthier oceans and improved management of our oceans, consumers can make a difference by:

  • Asking for and purchasing seafood with the MSC-certified seal of approval, including wild Alaska salmon. Ask about the best environmental choices at your local fish counter and vote for seafood sustainability with your dollars. Look for this seal of approval:
  • Visit Take Action Centers at all Whole Foods Market stores or wholefoodsmarket.com for the latest information on sustainability issues.
  • Know your elected officials and their voting record on environmental issues. Let them know seafood sustainability is an important issue to you.
  • Volunteer for restoration projects with environmental groups such as the World Wildlife Fund. A few hours of your time can make a big difference.
  • Help organizations like World Wildlife Fund take action to rescue our oceans. Go to Conservation Action Network at http://takeaction.worldwildlife.org/ and click on “Crisis in Our Oceans” for more information.
  • Dine at Chefs Collaborative restaurants and make the right seafood choices when eating out. Visit www.chefnet.com/cc2000 for an online guide of Chefs Collaborative restaurants throughout the United States.

Whole Foods Market is proud to be a part of the 'Fish For Our Future' coalition and stand by our commitment to helping keep fish plentiful for future generations, while supporting a healthy marine environment,” said Margaret Wittenberg, Vice President of Governmental and Public Affairs for Whole Foods Market. “As an active supporter of the MSC since its inception, Whole Foods Market will continue to provide clearly labeled, environmentally sound seafood so that there truly will be fish for our future.

Editors' Note: Please contact Kristen Rosenzweig, (617) 272-8353, to arrange interviews with spokespeople from Whole Foods Market, Marine Stewardship Council, Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, World Wildlife Fund and Chefs Collaborative. Recipes and photos are available upon request.