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Group Ranks Major Grocery Chains on Seafood Practices

Audio

Aired 6/30/09

An environmental group says some major grocery stores in San Diego County are doing better than others when it comes to protecting fish stocks.

An environmental group says some major grocery stores in San Diego County are doing better than others when it comes to protecting fish stocks.

Greenpeace ranked the top 20 supermarket chains based on their seafood sustainability policies. Those practices include not selling fish which are in decline or selling fish caught using practices that kill or harm other species.

The Wegmans chain ranked number one. Whole Foods ranked three, Target four and Safeway five.

Trader Joe's received the worst ranking of the major chains.

Casson Trenor with Greenpeace says more than half of the leading U.S. supermarket chains have made some progress in increasing the sustainability of their seafood operations.

"And look at sustainability as the future, which it is," Trenor says. "And have correctly deduced that unless they get on track now and start selling sustainable seafood and promoting sustainable fisheries there's not going to be any seafood left for anyone to sell in 20 years."

Trenor says the United States is the third largest consumer of seafood in the world and half of that seafood is bought from supermarkets.

He says of the 20 largest retailers in North America, nine have made no visible effort to increase the sustainability of their seafood operations. Trenor says that group includes Costco, Publix and Trader Joe's.

Trenor says while many companies have made progress, all continue to sell seafood such as swordfish or Chilean sea bass which are in decline.

Trenor says none of the companies featured in the report guarantee that they won't sell seafood from fisheries that are harming sea turtles, dolphins, seals, sea lions, or other marine mammals.

Recent scientific studies indicate that unless current fishing practices change, global fish stocks could collapse by the middle of the century.

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