Three colors — red, yellow and green — safely direct traffic to prevent car crashes. But for the seafood industry, those colors always seem to clash.
The familiar hues represent the buy or avoid recommendations from Seafood Watch, a consumer-facing sustainable seafood program founded by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The power those colors represent, particularly when they change for a given species or fishery, can create ripples wherever that seafood is sold while invoking emotional responses along the nation’s coastlines where it is harvested.
The latest news from Monterey, Calif., was mostly good: In October, Seafood Watch gave solid marks to a vast majority of the 242 U.S. fishery species it assesses — 95 percent earned either a green (best choice) or yellow (good alternative) rating. Ratings changes for two iconic fisheries, one that went up and one that went down, have suppliers experiencing a range of reactions, from incensed to indifferent.
When asked about any sales bumps due to the upgrade for American red snapper (from red, or avoid, to yellow), Steven Rash said, “Not that I’m aware of.”