Whole Foods makes commitment to sustainable tuna organization

Published on
May 16, 2017

Whole Foods Market has joined the ranks of the International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF), committing itself as a supporter of small-scale fisheries that use the one-by-one method to acquire high-quality, responsibly-caught tuna. 

The decision to join the ranks of the IPNLF is “the latest step in the company’s efforts to move the seafood industry toward greater sustainability,” noted to the foundation. 

“Joining the International Pole and Line Foundation amplifies our collective efforts to be a positive force for change for our oceans and the fishing communities who depend on them,” said Carrie Brownstein, Global Seafood Quality Standards coordinator for Whole Foods Market. “The IPNLF has been a key partner, helping us to develop our new canned tuna sourcing policy, and supporting Whole Foods Market’s mission to move the seafood industry toward greater sustainability.”

The retailer recently announced its new sourcing policy for sustainable, traceable canned tuna, thus becoming the first grocer in the U.S. to establish storewide requirements of the sort, spanning many grocery products and prepared food items. Whole Foods plans to have all canned tuna sold in its stores up to its latest standard by January 2018.

“Under the new policy, all of the canned tuna sold at Whole Foods Market must come from fisheries using only one-by-one catch methods,” IPNLF said. “These fisheries must also either be certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council or rated green or yellow by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and The Safina Center.  This includes canned tuna items in the grocery aisles as well as in the prepared foods department.”

All of Whole Foods’ tuna suppliers will also be implementing Trace Register traceability software, tracking their product from vessel to can, by the deadline. 

“We are delighted to welcome Whole Foods Market as our latest retail Member,” IPNLF Director Policy and Outreach Adam Baske. “It is a company that has long stood at the forefront of North America’s sustainable seafood movement; a position that is supported by the strict standards it has placed on all of the fresh and frozen fish and shellfish that it sources. Its new canned tuna policy raises this commitment to another level by recognizing the unprecedented demand from sustainability-savvy consumers for tuna caught by one-by-one fishing methods and that trustworthy sources of the product need to be secured now and long into the future. It further distinguishes one-by-one tuna fishing as a crucial economic activity that has for centuries enabled many coastal fishing communities in many countries to maintain their livelihoods and decent living standards while also safeguarding the long-term future of vital fish stocks and marine habitats.”

Based out of Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market is considered to be a leading natural and organic foods retailer within the United States and beyond. The retailer operates more than 460 stories in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom, with approximately 87,000 workers in its employ.

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