There is little question today that our oceans have suffered greatly due to decades of overfishing practices. Three quarters of all commercially valuable fish stocks are either exploited, over exploited or altogether depleted. A new study by the Journal of Science says that 96% of the world's oceans have been damaged by human activity. Greenpeace has devised several tools to help the seafood industry and consumers navigate this issue. For consumers the organizations has created a "Red List" of seafood species to avoid purchasing and which they hope to phase out of the marketplace.
- Alaska Pollock
- Atlantic Cod or Scrod
- Atlantic Halibut (US and Canadian)
- Atlantic Salmon (wild and farmed)
- Atlantic Sea Scallop
- Bluefin tuna
- Big Eye Tuna
- Chilean Sea Bass (also sold as Patagonia Toothfish)
- Greenland Halibut (also sold as Black halibut, Atlantic turbot or Arrowhead flounder)
- Grouper (imported to the U.S.)
- Hoki (also known as Blue Grenadier)
- Ocean Quahog
- Orange Roughy
- Red Snapper
- Redfish (also sold as Ocean Perch)
- Skates and Rays
- South Atlantic Albacore Tuna
- Tropical Shrimp (wild and farmed)
- Yellowfin Tuna
The 'Red List" criteria also includes fish caught by fishing methods that are wreaking havoc on the delicate marine ecosystem, including;
- Fishery exploits endangered, vulnerable and/or protected species, and species with poor stock status;
- Fishery causes habitat destruction and/or leads to ecosystem alterations;
- Fishery has negative impact on other, non-target species;
- Fishery is unregulated, unreported, illegal or managed poorly; and
- Fishery has negative impact on local, fishing dependent communities.
For retailers Greenpeace has devised the following sustainable seafood policies:
- First, stop selling red listed species. The first and most meaningful step for supermarkets is to immediately commit to removing from sale those species most in peril due to destructive or illegal fishing.
- Adopt and implement a procurement policy that reduces the impacts of fishing. Effective sustainable seafood procurement policies will ensure the long-term sustainability of all the seafood products supermarkets sell. This is good for both the environment and for business, as consumers increasingly consider the impact of their seafood purchases on the health of the oceans.
- Communicate these concerns and solutions up the supply chain. To date, many environmentalists have asked individual consumers to shift their seafood purchases to reduce effects on overexploited species. These have proved complicated, bewildering and often ineffective.
- By asking supermarkets to take an active role in preserving overfished species, Greenpeace is enlisting the aid of informed seafood professionals whose decisions send strong signal back through the supply chain.
- Supermarkets must support improvements in the labeling of seafood products, in order to help consumers make informed decisions. This should include detail about the name of the product, and how and where it was caught or farmed.
Every company in the seafood industry, no matter how large or small, has a responsibility to make sure that the seafood it buys and sells comes from fully sustainable sources. It’s not only good for the environment - it’s also good for business. If we want plentiful fish stocks tomorrow, we need sustainable seafood today.
For more information on how to support Greenpeace efforts in sustainable fishing go to www.greenpeace.org/seafood