Trader Joes Announces New Plan to Sell Only Sustainable Seafood by 2012

Retailer removes red list species from shelves, calls for marine reserves

Media release - March 29, 2010
After enduring months of campaigning from Greenpeace activists across the country, Trader Joe’s has now made a significant move towards addressing the sustainable seafood policy in their stores. In an announcement posted on their website, Trader Joe’s has publicly declared their intentions to establish a policy, provide accurate information, and remove some red list species from their shelves.

After enduring months of campaigning from Greenpeace activists across the country, Trader Joe's has now made a significant move towards addressing the sustainable seafood policy in their stores. In an announcement posted on their website, Trader Joe's has publicly declared their intentions to establish a policy, provide accurate information, and remove some red list species from their shelves.

Trader Joes has agreed to:

  • Offer only sustainable seafood in their stores by December 31, 2012.
  • Work with third-party, science-based organizations to establish definitions and parameters for addressing customer concerns about overfishing, destructive catch or production methods, and the importance of marine reserves.
  • Remove "red-listed" seafood from their shelves. Trader Joe's stopped selling Chilean Sea Bass in 2005, Orange Roughy in July of 2009, and Red Snapper in March of 2010.
  • Provide accurate information on all seafood labels, including species' Latin names, origin and catch or production method.
  • Use their buying power to leverage change in the seafood industry.

"We applaud Trader Joe's commitment to creating a strong sustainable seafood policy. We are particularly happy to see Trader Joe's acknowledge that we need marine reserves, and that species like Orange Roughy and Chilean sea bass are incompatible with a sustainable seafood operation. We know their customers will appreciate their recent statement of intent. After all, seafood consumers deserve access to transparent, accurate information about the products they choose," said Senior Markets Campaigner Casson Trenor.

"We're going to be watching to see Trader Joe's implement these changes," continued Trenor, "They've made a lot of strong promises, and we'll be there to make sure that those promises become reality."

Trader Joe's is one of 20 seafood retailers profiled in Greenpeace's sustainable seafood guide, Carting Away the Oceans, which is published several times a year based on an analysis of sustainable seafood policies and practices among major retailers. In the most recent edition, Trader Joe's was ranked 17 out of 20, with a failing grade. Based on the changes outlined above, Trader Joe's is expected to receive a passing grade in the next report, tentatively scheduled for release the week of April 26. www.greenpeace.org/usa/press-center/reports4/carting-away-the-oceans

Of the 20 largest supermarket chains in the United States, eight have still made no visible effort to increase the sustainability of their seafood operations and continue to ignore scientific warnings about the crisis facing global fisheries and the marine environment. These include: Aldi, Costco, Giant Eagle, H.E.B., Meijer, Price Chopper, Publix, and Winn Dixie. Despite the progress of many companies, all continue to stock "red list" seafood like orange roughy, swordfish, or Chilean sea bass - some of the world's most imperiled species. While several retailers are working to make improvements, none of the companies featured in the report can yet guarantee that their seafood is legal, much less sustainable.

To help ensure the long-term sustainability of fisheries and marine ecosystems, Greenpeace advocates the creation of a worldwide network of marine reserves and a precautionary, ecosystem-based fisheries management approach. Today, supermarkets can help the oceans and meet consumer demand for sustainable products by refusing to sell seafood from fisheries that:

  • Exploit endangered, vulnerable and/or protected species, or species with poor stock status;
  • Cause habitat destruction and/or lead to ecosystem alterations;
  • Cause negative impacts on other, non-target species;
  • Are unregulated, unreported, illegal or managed poorly, and cause negative impacts on local, fishing dependent communities.

For more information, visit http://www.traitorjoe.com or http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/news/trader-joe-greener

VVPR info: Bob Meyers, Photo Editor, (202) 319-2453; Molly Dorozenski, Media Officer, (917) 864-3724; Casson Trenor, Senior Markets Campaigner, (415) 255-9221 x340,

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