PCC #1 for sustainable seafood

This article was originally published in September 2009

logo for Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program

(September 2009) — Greenpeace USA has announced that it ranks PCC as the #1 retailer in the United States for our sustainable seafood policies and initiatives. We received a higher rating than any other grocer in the country.

Sustainable tuna

One reason PCC earned the #1 ranking is that we undertook an extensive review of our canned seafood to make sure it meets sustainability standards — unlike any other U.S. retailer.

We’ve always made sure all our fresh seafood complies with strict standards for sustainability. Now our canned seafood is no exception. As an official retail partner of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, we worked with them to do months of thorough research about the sources of our tuna.

This was a difficult task! Misleading labels such as “dolphin-safe” may cause shoppers to think the tuna is sustainable when really it is not. The sustainability of tuna is determined by complex factors, including the variety of fish (yellowfin, albacore, skipjack), the fishing method (long-lines, poles, purse seines), and the specific location where the tuna is caught.

We made dozens of phone calls and emailed our suppliers, demanding details about how and where the tuna is sourced.

The global demand for tuna has led to overfishing some species, pushing them toward extinction. Most tuna, in fact, is fished in ways that produce large quantities of bycatch and reduce biodiversity. Habitat destruction and illegal pirate fishing also are problems worldwide.

We’ve discontinued several brands that do not meet Seafood Watch standards and replaced them with great tasting, sustainable options. The brands we now carry include Sweet Creek, Pelican’s Choice, Tuna Guys, and Wild Planet — all albacore, all pole-caught, all from the Pacific Northwest, all sustainable.

What’s good for the oceans also is good for you: these tunas are tested to be comparatively low in contaminants.

Also in this issue

Saving farmland with Conservation Easements 101

When we at the PCC Farmland Trust talk with donors and community members, we find many people have a very good sense of why it’s so important to save local organic farmland. On the other hand, understanding how the trust actually goes about saving land sometimes remains a little vague.

The organic dairy business: the land of milk and money

You may have read that the dairy world is imploding, that the price non-organic farmers get for their milk has fallen 50 percent since last December — the fastest, deepest drop since the Great Depression. As many as half the nation’s dairy producers — 20,000 — may call it quits by the end of 2009.