by Bob Vanasse and John Cooke
Saving Seafood staff
WASHINGTON -- May 24, 2012 – For some time, Whole Foods Market has used green issues as part of its marketing effort, appealing to the legitimate concerns of its customers for environmental protection and sustainability. On a recent episode of ABC’s hit series “Modern Family”, the character of Mitchell Pritchett, played by Jesse Tyler Ferguson, delivered a punch line about shopping-bag sanctimony in the store’s check out lines. On Earth Day of this year, Whole Foods extended the sanctimony to their fish counters, announcing they would no longer allow their customers to buy fish rated “red” by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Blue Ocean Institute.
Since that policy was introduced on Earth Day, industry leaders, environmental advocates, fisheries scientists, and lawmakers have gone on record either directly opposing – or presenting information raising serious questions and doubts about – the “red” sustainability ratings. In addition, information made public by the federal government, through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), directly contradicts many of the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Blue Ocean assertions.