A Better Fish Fry

The Seafood Department at Whole Foods Market.

When you walk up to the seafood counter at the Whole Foods Market in Rocky River, you’ll find a team swimming in knowledge.  Led by Geoff Crump, the team of four is sourcing some of the freshest fish in Northeast Ohio.  In fact, not only can the team often trace the seafood to the boat it was caught on – occasionally they can tell you the name of the fisherman who caught it!

It’s that level of traceability and commitment to sustainable fishing that led Whole Foods to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).  Whole Foods was one of the first American companies to support and participate in the MSC Program, a non-governmental organization that promotes sustainable fisheries and responsible fishing practices worldwide.

“It’s really a win-win for customers – because they can enjoy halibut tacos or hard-to-find harpoon swordfish without destroying our natural ecosystems,” said Crump.

Whole Foods wants to make it easy to make good choices.  Wild-caught seafood sold in its stores is from fisheries that are either certified sustainable by the MSC or have been rated “Green” or “Yellow” by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch® Program and The Safina Center.  “You won’t find Orange Roughy in our stores because it’s rated Red,” said Crump. “This typically means a species is being overfished, or harvested in ways that are damaging to the environment or other species.”

The Seafood Team cautions not to overlook responsibly-farmed fish.  “Farmed fish sometimes get a bad rap due to the use of chemicals, growth hormones, antibiotics not to mention poultry and mammalian by-products in the feed,” said Crump.  “We only source farmed seafood from facilities that don’t use those practices.”

Seafood is on the menu for many Northeast Ohioans this time of year and there are plenty of options that taste great at Whole Foods. The Pub, Hot Bar, Lunch Special offer fish dishes and sandwiches on Fridays. And, you can always ask the Seafood Team to steam-to-order a piece of salmon, shrimp or any other item!

 “Our efforts – our customer’s efforts at demanding sustainable, responsibly farmed seafood will hopefully encourage other companies to follow suit,” said Crump. “And, that’s really neat. We’re making change happen.”

Lisa Sweeney

Lisa Sweeney is Marketing Team Leader at Whole Foods Market in Rocky River. She lives in Rocky River.

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Volume 3, Issue 9, Posted 11:21 AM, 03.04.2016