Whole Foods won't carry Ross Sea Chilean sea bass


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
June 17, 2013

Officials with the environmental protection advocacy group Greenpeace this week applauded a statement by grocery chain Whole Foods that the company did not and would not carry Chilean sea bass that came from the Ross Sea, near Antarctica.

The statement appeared in an entry on the company’s corporate blog, dated 1 June, in response to Greenpeace putting the chain at the top of its 2013 Seafood Sustainability Scorecard. The scorecard ranked Whole Foods highest in making sustainable choices in sourcing the seafood in its stores.

According to the Whole Foods blog, Greenpeace incorrectly mentioned in its description of Whole Foods that the company sourced sea bass from the Ross Sea. The sea bass comment was toward the end of the blog entry, which focused on Whole Foods’ excitement at being praised so highly by the group.

“Although we do sell Chilean sea bass, with a purchasing policy to only buy from such fisheries that are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, we do not currently, nor do we plan to in the future, source Chilean sea bass from the controversial Ross Sea area near Antarctica,” the blog’s statement read.

The commission for the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources (CCAMLR), a governing body that sets rules for fishing in the area of the Ross Sea, has been under pressure to restrict or ban fishing sea bass in the Ross Sea due to the species’ low populations and the fragile ecosystem there.

“Greenpeace congratulates Whole Foods Market on its commitment to making more sustainable seafood choices available to consumers, and refusing to sell vulnerable species like the Chilean Sea Bass from the Ross Sea,” said John Hocevar, Greenpeace’s oceans campaign director. “Safeway, Wegmans and Harris Teeter grocery stores have already publicly called on CCAMLR to protect the irreplaceable wildlife of the Ross Sea. Whole Foods’ statement sends CCAMLR yet another strong signal.”

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