Did you know what Target, Safeway & Costco all do better than Trader Joe’s? The seafood they sell is rated higher by Greenpeace in terms of sustainability.
I was driving by Geary & Masonic today and saw a crew of red hawaiian shirted young people holding up this, and I had to find out more:
They held an action today to highlight Trader Joe’s failure to address Seafood Sustainability in their business practices. Trader Joe’s does not have a Sustainable Seafood Policy, and a “Greenpeace Survey found that Trader Joe’s sells 15 of 22 red list seafoods, including Chilean Sea Bass, Tuna, and Swordfish.”
Seafood is a tough one for people wanting to live the sustainable lifestyle. How do you know the fish you are eating is harvested with respect to the environment? Is that species being over fished, or worse, has already crashed? Does it matter?
It does matter; it is not simply one or two fisheries crashing, but entire ocean ecosystems. From dead zones to garbage patches the size of Texas, to the impacts our individual homes make, our ocean’s are under assault. When it comes to the fish stocked on our store shelves, we are literally eating the sea to death. It happens far away, out of site, but if we do not recognize our direct connection to this problem we are screwed.
The average consumer is going to have an extraordinarily hard time trying to figure out what types of fish are ok to eat: even pro’s confess to being stymied. Grocer’s like Trader Joe’s need to do their part to be good stewards of the environment and help their customer’s make sustainable choices in the fish available for sale. Trader Joe’s does not seem to think so, and that is a shame because they could be great partners in this effort. It is a little weird to think that Wal-Mart does a better job, but Wal-Mart is ranked number 7 on Greenpeace’s list of Supermarket Seafood Sustainability Scorecard, and Trader Joe’s is number 17!
One greast resource is The Marine Stewardship Council which tracks various fisheries and verifies their sustainable business practices, much like the Forest Stewardship Council does for wood. Another is the Montery Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch. But when you are running into the market to grab something fast for dinner, you need a hand. Professional buyer’s like Trader Joe’s should be helping their customer’s out.