Something fishy: Greenpeace updates seafood scorecard

The good news? Most of the top supermarket chains have become more vigilant about the source of what's behind their fish counters. The bad news? None of them is really a leader. Yet.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor on

It's getting warmer, which means more of us will be dragging out the barbecue and more of us will be visiting the seafood counter in our local grocery store for some fresh fish steaks. Greenpeace wants to give you pause before you fire up the grill. The environmental advocacy group has updated its "Carting Away the Oceans" report and Supermarket Seafood Sustainability Scorecard, with Safeway (including Von's) claiming the top spot.

Target, which was first last year, slipped an itsy bit into second place in a tie with the Wegmans organization. Rounding out the top five are Whole Foods and Ahold (Stop & Shop, Giant). The top five companies actually were the same last year, just in a slightly different order.

The good news, according to Greenpeace, is that most of the major supermarket chains become more vigilant -- lest they risk the ire of consumers. But there are still five organizations that Greenpeace feels have been blase in their attention to the seafood issue. Those companies are Giant Eagle, Publix, Supervalue, Winn-Dixie and Meijer. In reality, none of the companies ranked on the list get a really good score. Safeway managed 64.61 out of a possible 100; Target and Wegmens are RIGHT behind with 63.74 out of 100.

Check your supermarket's score!

Aside from the general practice of overharvesting certain species (orange roughy has been a particular focus), another issue that Greenpeace laments loudly: bycatch. It writes:

"Bycatch remains a scandalous problem: each day, an enormous portion of the world's total seafood catch is tossed over the sides of fishing boards due to inefficient, indiscriminate fishing methods. The worst of the destructive fishing practices, bottom trawling, is responsible for 80 percent of all bycatch incurred globally."

I'm sure it's not a coincidence that Kroger, which sits at No. 15 on the list (right before the aforementioned failing companies), chose this week to announce an update to its seafood sourcing policies. The organization said it will eliminate shark, marlin and bluefin tuna and switch to certified sources for particularly popular wild-caught seafood by 2015. It is working with the World Wildlife Fund to achieve this. We'll see where they show up next year.

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