Whole Foods Market has become the first national retail chain to come up with a simple rating system for all seafood it sells based on the sustainability of each species.
Created in league with the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California and Blue Ocean Institute, the system breaks seafood into three grades. Green means the product is relativity abundant and caught by environmentally friendly methods. Yellow signifies concerns have been raised about the species being overfished. Red means species survival is in jeopardy or the seafood was caught by methods that harm other marine life or habitat.
The Austin, Texas, chain said it will stop selling all red-rated species by Earth Day 2013.
The move comes after several chains including Sweetbay, Aldi and Publix said they are studying how to address the issue. Meantime, Target will drop farm-raised salmon in 2011, Trader Joe's will carry only "sustainable species" after 2012, Safeway stopped selling overfished species including grouper and monkfish and Walmart, which dropped all fresh seafood in Florida, had earlier stopped selling swordfish, shark and frozen orange roughy.