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MOM's - My Organic Market, a Washington/Baltimore metro area's organic grocery chain, said it is now carrying only environmentally sustainable seafood at its five stores in Maryland and Virginia, which it said makes it the first U.S. retailer to do so.
To launch the initiative, MOM's has joined forces with Santa Cruz, Calif.-based FishWise, a program that helps retailers with seafood sourcing, point-of-sale consumer education, and staff training and support.
"MOM's mission as a company is to protect and restore the environment," said MOM's v.p. of grocery Lisa de Lima. "We were one of the first grocers to switch to 100 percent wind power and to discontinue the use of plastic shopping bags in our stores."
The Rockville, Md.-based grocer's new seafood labels feature a green stripe to let customers know that the items are sustainable, as well as where and how they were caught or farmed. To be labeled green, the seafood must be caught or farmed using methods that maintain healthy populations, sustain a long-term supply of fish, and have minimal impact on the surrounding ecosystem. A Low Mercury List posted at front of the seafood case allows customers to identify fish and shellfish that are the lowest in mercury and PCBs, in addition to those having the highest sustainability ranking of green.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 75 percent of the world's fisheries are depleted, over-fished, or at full capacity.
FishWise is one of 14 North American conservation organizations that have formed the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions, which on May 8 released the "Common Vision for Environmentally Responsible Seafood." The document lists the steps companies can take to develop and implement a comprehensive, corporate policy on sustainable, wild-caught and farmed seafood.
MOM's operates five stores in Rockville; College Park, Md.; Alexandria, Va.; Columbia East, Md; and Frederick, Md.