Whole Foods drops gourmet groceries, cites sustainability concerns | WETM

(NEXSTAR) — Whole Foods will no longer buy lobster from Maine, following the Marine Stewardship Board’s decision to suspend the Gulf of Maine fishery’s sustainability certification.

The Marine Stewardship Board’s decision also came shortly after the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch (MBA) assigned a “red” rating to American lobsters from the Gulf of Maine, recommending consumers avoid them for the same reason.

“As part of our commitment to responsible sourcing, we only sell wild-caught seafood from fisheries certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or rated either ‘green’ or ‘yellow’ by the MBA Seafood Watch program,” a Foods spokesperson wrote. In a joint statement with Nexstar. “These third-party verification and evaluation processes are necessary to maintain the integrity of our standards for all wild-caught seafood contained in our seafood department.”

The Marine Stewardship Council, or MSC, is a London-based non-profit organization that sets standards for sustainable fishing. Last week, MSC revoked its sustainability certification for the Gulf of Maine fishery, which has produced more lobster than any other country for three decades, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The MSC cited risks of possible involvement of marine mammals – specifically, the right whale – as a reason for suspending the fishery certification.

MSC said in a press release that Gulf of Maine fisheries came under scrutiny as recently as September 2022, following a federal court ruling that previous sustainability regulations were no longer sufficient. During the review, it was found that the Gulf of Maine fishery was not complying with the new regulations.

The suspension officially takes effect on December 15, 2022.

In the meantime, Whole Foods will continue to sell Gulf of Maine lobster previously purchased from fisheries before MSC certification was suspended, or before MBA Seafood Watch downgraded lobster to a “red” rating.

“We are monitoring this situation closely and are committed to working with suppliers, fisheries and environmental groups as it develops,” said a Whole Foods spokesperson.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: