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In the wake of the release of Greenpeace's 2015 Carting Away the Oceans (CATO) report – which annually ranks supermarkets on their efforts to safeguard both the oceans and seafood industry workers – the National Fisheries Institute (NFI) is once again condeming the study as "subjective and hopelessly flawed," while characterizing it "first and foremost a fundraising tool" to garner support for its "dangerous ulterior agenda" cloaked in "inference and insinuation."
NFI's full statement appears later in this story, which will first examine key highlights of Greenpeace's ninth retail seafood exam, which profiles 25 supermarket companies – 80 percent of which received passing scores overall. The advocacy group's key message this year calls on retailers to "do their part to protect both the oceans and the workers that provide seafood," in light of continuing mounting concerns over slavery and human rights abuses in the seafood industry.
“Investigations continue to reveal that slavery and human rights abuses are widespread problems in the global seafood industry," said Greenpeace's David Pinsky, senior oceans campaigner. “Ultimately, the buck stops with the supermarkets that sell seafood associated with forced labor or human rights abuses, and it’s simply unacceptable that none have made it a priority.”
No Shore Thing
Whole Foods, Wegmans, Hy-Vee and Safeway ranked as the top four retailers overall in this year's CATO study, earning marks in the “good” category. Among other positive steps Greenpeace credits the four chains with taking includes Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and human rights abuses through policies, political advocacy, and participation in industry- and NGO-led conversations to identify solutions.
However, the advocacy group said "all retailers must strengthen their efforts and urgently address this global problem," including Southeastern Grocers, Roundy’s, Publix, A&P and Save Mart, all of which finished in the red “fail” category in the ranking
The CATO report calls out "five ways to help the oceans at your grocery store," including:
1. Know the facts by visiting seafood.greenpeaceusa.org to learn the truth about your favorite supermarkets and what these companies must to do improve.
2. Speak your mind. Join Greenpeace Greenwire to connect with volunteers in your area and invite your community to take action with you. Bring your friends and tell your grocer that you want them to only sell sustainable, socially responsible seafood. Demand to know the truth behind your seafood options.
3. Demand that your seafood is not connected to human rights abuses. Tell your grocer that you want every person around the globe working to bring seafood to our tables to be treated fairly. Ask the manager how their company is addressing growing concerns about slavery, labor abuse, and illegal fishing.
4. Vote with your dollar. Reward grocers that are taking it upon themselves to make sustainable choices. Only purchase sustainable seafood and let the team behind the counter know you appreciate it.
5. Eat less fish. Today’s demand for seafood far outstrips what can be delivered from sustainable sources. Reducing seafood consumption now can help lessen the pressure on our oceans, ensuring fish for the future.
Something's Fishy to NFI
Not surprisingly, NFI vigorously begs to differ with the propensity of CATO's findings, particularly as it pertains to Greenpeace's open call for Americans to eat less seafood. "This not only destroys whatever shreds of credibility Greenpeace had left, but puts its fringe activists at odds with just about every medical and nutritional expert in world including the Food and Drug Administration," said Lynsee, NFI's communications manager.