SEATTLE, Wash. and AUSTIN, Texas (May 4, 2006) The Marine Stewardship Council and Whole Foods Market are pleased to announce that the supermarket is the world's first retailer to offer its shoppers fresh halibut from a Pacific fishery that has recently been certified to the MSC's environmental standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries.
“The sustainable seafood movement is gathering momentum, and Whole Foods Market has been a longtime supporter of this trend and the MSC,” said Jim Humphreys, MSC's Regional Director of the Americas. “Studies suggest that consumers prefer sustainably caught seafood, and Whole Foods Market is offering fresh Pacific halibut at the peak of its season to satisfy that demand.”
“Shoppers can rest assured that MSC-certified Pacific halibut has not been overfished or caught in ways that are harmful to the marine environment. Plus, it is some of the best tasting, lean white fish the world has to offer,” said David Pilat, Whole Foods Market National Seafood Coordinator. “Our support of the MSC underscores our commitment to encourage ecological health and the abundance of marine life, and it gives our shoppers peace of mind that they are doing their part for the planet.”
The MSC is an international, nonprofit organization dedicated to creating sustainable fisheries around the world by using market-based incentives. Committed to the long-term viability of the global fish supply and healthy marine ecosystems, the MSC works with third-party certifiers to reward well-managed and sustainable fisheries.As a supporter of the MSC since 1999, Whole Foods Market has an ongoing pledge to help make a difference when it comes to the responsible management of our oceans' resources. In addition to Pacific halibut, Whole Foods Market offers the widest selection of MSC-certified seafood, including wild Alaska salmon and New Zealand hoki, to be found in any North American supermarket.
Pacific halibut is wild-caught at depths of up to 900 feet from the fishery in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska and off the coast of Washington and Oregon states in the Pacific Ocean.Halibut, a firm-textured white fish with relatively few bones and little oil, is incredibly popular with chefs and home cooks. Often called the “steak of seafood,” it is known for its delicate, succulent texture. Because of its mild, almost sweet flavor and ability to maintain its shape, halibut takes well to virtually any cooking method or sauce.
Pacific halibut, certified to the MSC environmental standard in April, joins 16 other fisheries worldwide that are currently certified to the rigorous MSC environmental standard. In total, 40 fisheries worldwide are engaged in the MSC environmental program, representing over three million tons of seafood.
Scientific Certification Systems, Inc. (SCS), an independent certification organization, has led a comprehensive assessment to ensure that all aspects of the fishery meet the MSC environmental standard. SCS and an independent team of experts examined the sustainability status of the fish stock, the impact fishing has on the marine environment, and the effectiveness of the fishery management system. The certificate has been awarded to a nonprofit corporation sponsored by Fishing Vessel Owners Association (FVOA) and the Deep Sea Fishermen Union, both of which represent longline crews and vessel owners.
About the Marine Stewardship Council
The MSC has been set up in 1997 to promote solutions to the problem of overfishing. It has developed a voluntary international fishery certification program and eco-label. The eco-label can be found on more than 300 seafood products sold in retail chains in 26 countries. In total, 40 fisheries worldwide are engaged in the MSC environmental program, representing over three million tons of seafood. Seventeen fisheries have been certified as sustainable against the MSC standard to date: Alaska pollock – Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands, Alaska pollock — Gulf of Alaska, Alaska Salmon, Australian mackerel icefish, BSAI Pacific cod freezer longline, Burry Inlet cockles, Hastings Fleet Dover sole Fishery, Hastings Fleet pelagic Fishery, Loch Torridon nephrops, Mexican Baja California red rock lobster, New Zealand hoki, Pacific halibut (Alaska, Washington & Oregon), South African hake, South Georgia toothfish, South West mackerel handline, Thames herring, Western Australian rock lobster. Worldwide, more than 300 seafood products bearing the MSC's blue eco-label can be found in supermarkets in 26 countries.