By Beth Daley, Globe Staff
For years, scientists, environmentalists and government officials have worked to stop imperiled marine species from disappearing from the sea.
They often fail, however, and the result can be found in the fish case of your local supermarket: Some of the most destructively fished and farmed species in the world wind up there.
Supermarkets need to ask more questions about where fish comes from a new report says
Last June, Greenpeace issued a dismal report that graded supermarkets on sustainable seafood policies and practices. It showed most US supermarkets continued to purchase seafood with little consideration for the health of fish stocks and where or how seafood was caught.
Today, supermarkets are getting a bit - but only a little bit - better.
In June, all 20 national and regional supermarket chains that were graded failed Greenpeace’s rating system.
This time, however, Whole Foods, Ahold USA (which owns Stop & Shop and Giant), Target and Harris Teeter received “passing scores”. Trader Joes was placed number 17 (for the second time) out of 20 supermarket chains surveyed, the worse ranking of the national supermarket chains surveyed.
None of the companies in the report had policies or practices that guaranteed they won’t sell seafood from fisheries that are harming sea turtles, dolphins, seals, sea lions and other marine mammals. Still, eight of the companies – including Whole Foods and Ahold - have removed some threatened species such as orange roughy and sharks from their shelves.
It can be hard to buy sustainable fish. One swordfish may be caught in a “green” way while another isn’t. The vast world of fish laundering (yes, that’s what it’s called) means that fish can land frozen in many ports – and even undergo a name change – before landing on your dinner plate) But supermarkets – and consumers – have a responsibility to try and not buy fish that may be disappearing from the sea.
Here are the rankings from the Greenpeace report:
1. Whole Foods Market
2. Ahold USA (Stop & Shop, Giant)
4. Harris Teeter
6. Safeway (Dominicks, Genuardi's, Randall's, Von's)
8. Kroger (Baker's, City Market, Dillon's, Own's, PayLess, Ralph's,
Scott's, Smith's, Quality Food Center - QFC)
11. A & P (Food Emporium, Pathmark, Super Fresh, Waldbaum's)
12. Giant Eagle
15. Delhaize (Bloom, Food Lion, Hannaford Bros., Sweetbay)
16. Supervalu (Acme, Albertson's, Bristol Farms, Jewel-Osco, Shaw's)
17. Trader Joe's
19. H.E. Butt (H.E.B., Central Market)
20. Price Chopper
For more information, go to: www.greenpeaceusa.org/seafood