“Streamlining our research with the Monterey Bay Aquarium helps us know the sustainability status of more species of fish. Whole Foods Market turns that knowledge into buying power and market influence,” said Carl Safina, founding president of The Safina Center. “There’s a real impact on the water when retailers like Whole Foods Market source responsibly caught seafood, creating an economic reward for fisheries to improve their ratings.”

Combining the scientific expertise of MBA and TSC with the consumer insight of Whole Foods Market also helps the organizations prioritize research on the most impactful seafood issues. The company provides input on regional favorites, seasonal items and household staples to help determine which species to evaluate, ultimately giving consumers a greater number of choices and driving demand for seafood coming from responsible fisheries.

“Our collaboration with The Safina Center will maximize our ability to provide retailers like Whole Foods Market with robust and consistent seafood recommendations from a diversity of sources, ultimately rewarding better performing fisheries,” said Jennifer Dianto Kemmerly, Seafood Watch director at Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Whole Foods Market is fully transparent about the sustainability status of the seafood offered in stores. The company’s policy is to source as much seafood certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) as possible. When MSC-certified options are not available, customers use the sustainability ratings from MBA and The Safina Center to choose green- and yellow-rated options. Whole Foods Market removed all red-rated seafood from stores in 2012. Red ratings indicate that the species is overfished, poorly managed, or caught in ways cause harm to habitats or other wildlife.

Critical to delivering on the promise of sustainable seafood is Whole Foods Market’s strict traceability requirements, which ensure that all items in the seafood case – both wild-caught and farmed – can be traced through the supply chain. In every step between the water and the store, Whole Foods Market suppliers and distribution centers log more than 20 fields of information about every piece of seafood. Additionally, the Marine Stewardship Council certification requires rigorous chain of custody requirements. These comprehensive systems provide full traceability so customers can be assured that all seafood offered at Whole Foods Market meets the stated standards.

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