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Whole Foods to Stop Selling Overfished Species

April 07, 2012

Whole Foods Market found a way to commemorate Earth Day: it will no longer sell wild-caught fish with a “red-rating,” meaning a species is overfished, in its seafood departments, starting this Earth Day (April 22).

This is one-year ahead of its original target of Earth Day 2013. A red rating is determined by non-profit organizations Blue Ocean Institute and Monterey Bay Aquarium, and in addition to meaning a species is overfished, it can also mean that the current fishing methods used harm other marine life or habitats. Whole Foods will be the “first national grocer to stop selling red-rated seafood,” according to a press release.


As of April 22, Whole Foods will stop selling Atlantic halibut, flounder, and skate, among others. This is important because all three species are overfished. Atlantic halibut is the largest species of flatfish found in the northwest Atlantic Ocean, according to the Northeast Fisheries Resource Center (NEFSC), and has been heavily overfished in the 19th and 20th centuries. Unfortunately, Atlantic halibut populations still have not recovered.

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