Whole Foods Misses the Forest for the Seas

I have to admit, I don’t miss the hustle and bustle of Washington D.C. I love it where I grew up and now spend most of my time these days—Gloucester and Rockport, MA. Not only is the ocean view spectacular, but it makes following my own advice of eating more wild-caught seafood easy. In fact, just today, I went down to the dock to pick up some fish (which is the safest bet for fresh fish during a heat wave).

On my way back, I picked up a copy of the June issue of Commercial Fisheries News, relatively assured that the left-wing liberal media elite have not gotten their hands on this paper—yet.

One of the featured articles discussed a new decree by Whole Foods. Proclaiming that the chain will stop selling sea foods that are “red-rated” by the Blue Ocean Institute (BOI) and Monterey Bay Aquarium. (I like to think of it as the “out of the blue” ocean institute.)

But what Whole Foods hasn’t trumpeted during this latest PR campaign is that this rating system is widely criticized as unfair and misleading to consumers.

For those of you unfamiliar with the rating system, there are three color-coded classes that the BOI has established for all wild-caught fish.

  • “Green: Species is relatively abundant, and fishing/farming methods cause little damage to habitat and other wildlife”
  • “Yellow: Some problems exist with this species’ status or catch/farming methods, or information is insufficient for evaluating.”
  • “Red: Species has a combination of problems such as overfishing, high bycatch, and poor management; or farming methods have serious environmental impacts.”

My friend Senator Scott Brown (R-MA), a rare political leader who stands up for the truth regardless of politics or political correctness, faulted Whole Foods for failing to grasp that the New England and U.S. fishing industries are already tightly regulated. And these well-established regulations already ensure that all seafood is harvested in a sustainable manner. No traffic-light, homeland security-type rating system required.

Despite being all “natural” all the time, when it comes to wild caught seafood, it seems like Whole Foods can’t see the forest for the seven seas. And is putting political correctness (and profits) before sound science.

The article concludes, “Whole Foods is making the tough business of fishing even more difficult for American fisherman who are operating more sustainably than their counterparts across the globe.”

So the “endangered” fish are not fully protected anyway. And, instead, it is the American fisherman who is endangered. And the American consumer who pays.