Whole Foods Fish Ban Begins This Week | Clean Plate Charlie | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

Ethical Eating

Whole Foods Fish Ban Begins This Week

Whole Foods will no longer carry fish deemed not sustainable by organizations such as Monterey Bay Aquarium and Blue Ocean Institute. The company had announced in 2010 that it would stop selling red-rated fish as of 2013 but moved up its deadline.

"Today's a big day for us," announces the Whole Foods blog. "A number of years ago, we stopped selling several extremely depleted stocks, such as orange roughy and bluefin tuna; now we'll no longer offer species rated red... such as Atlantic halibut, grey sole, skate wing, sturgeon, and turbot among others."

"We've been paying attention to sustainable species all along," said an employee at Whole Foods market on North Federal in Fort Lauderdale. "You're only going to see a difference when it comes to a couple of selections, like octopus."

Some scientists disagree. "[A] growing number of scientists have begun to question whether these certification systems deliver on their promises. The labels give consumers a false impression that purchasing certain products helps the ocean more than it really does," reports Juliet Eilperin in yesterday's Washington Post.

Fishermen from Massachusetts and colder waters hospitable to shellfish and fattier fish will be hit hardest, reports yesterday's New York Times. Atlantic cod is among fish that will no longer be available at stores. "'We've been murdered,' said Russell Sherman, who has sold his entire catch to Whole Foods for the past six years and is seeking new buyers. 'It's not fair at all.'"

What won't you find in a Whole Foods seafood section from now on?

Here's the list of Monterey Bay Aquarium's code-red fish to avoid. 

Caviar, Sturgeon (imported wild)
Chilean Seabass/Toothfish
Conch: Queen
Crawfish/Crayfish (imported farmed)
Flounders, Halibut, Soles (US Atlantic,
except Summer Flounder)
Groupers (US Atlantic)
Lobster: Spiny (Brazil)
Mahi Mahi (imported longline)
Marlin: Blue, Striped (Pacific)
Orange Roughy
Salmon (farmed, including Atlantic)
Sharks* & Skates
Shrimp (imported)
Snapper: Red, Vermilion
Swordfish (imported)
Tilapia (Asia farmed)
Tilefish (US Southeast)
Tuna: All Canned, Albacore, Skipjack,
Tongol (except troll/pole)
Tuna: Bigeye, Yellowfin (longline,
except US Atlantic)
Tuna: Bluefin

Learn more about the ratings on Whole Foods website, here.

New Times on Facebook | Clean Plate Charlie on Facebook | Melissa on Facebook | Clean Plate Charlie on Twitter | Melissa McCart on Twitter | E-mail Melissa |

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Food Critic
Contact: Melissa McCart

Latest Stories