Sunday, February 27, 2011

Costco Changes Fish Policy

Last July I posted this in the post  "Costco Reigns as Biggest Offender" from a Greenpeace report
. . . And while most U.S. supermarkets could stand to improve their sustainable seafood policies, Costco reigns as the biggest offender. Everything at Costco is huge—the same is true of the store's environmental footprint. Of the 22 IUCN Red List species, Costco sells 15: Alaskan pollock, Atlantic cod, Atlantic salmon, Atlantic sea scallops, Chilean sea bass, grouper, monkfish, ocean quahog, orange roughy, red snapper, redfish, South Atlantic albacore tuna, swordfish, tropical shrimp, and yellowfin tuna. The store's fish coolers really serve as a one-stop shop for oceanic destruction. . .

 Greenpeace has a new message up this week:

Costco has agreed to remove over a dozen red list items, pursue better practices in aquaculture and assume more of a leadership role in the ongoing global effort to develop a more sustainable tuna industry.

If you want to know all the specifics (I know I like hearing about all the details), Costco has publicly announced that they’re going to:
-- Eliminate 12 red list species, which will not return unless the company can find an MSC-certified option. This is certainly not perfect—we’d like to see these unsustainable options off the shelves until the populations recover—but it’s a major step forward. The species are:

     - Atlantic cod
     - Atlantic halibut
     - Chilean sea bass
     - Greenland halibut
     - Grouper
     - Monkfish
     - Orange roughy
     - Redfish
     - Shark
     - Skates and rays
     - Swordfish
     - Bluefin tuna

-- Pledge to play more of a leadership role within aquaculture;

-- Partner with World Wildlife Fund to examine their remaining wild-caught species and determine how to best transition to the most sustainable alternative; and

-- Acknowledge the role that the canned tuna industry plays within the global sustainable seafood movement and is in the process of shifting to more sustainable tuna sources in all sectors (fresh, frozen, and canned).
It’s fantastic that Costco's leadership has taken some incredibly important steps forward. Still, this is just the beginning—the company has a long way to go, and just as we monitored the continued progress with the victory around Trader Joe's, we’ll also be keeping an eye on Costco to make sure that they follow through on these policies and continue improving their stewardship towards the oceans.

I'm quoting from Greenpeace, which is touting this as a big victory, because I can't find anything about it on the Costco site.  Here's what I got when I used their search tool:

And the link shows what I got when I just searched for 'fish".


  1. This is an industry take on Costco's actions from last August.

    Will have to go hunt around some more but not terribly excited myself at this point.

    MSC certification has issues, Alaska pollack industry has issues, not carrying items which don't make up much of your inventory isn't much of a real change...

    Not sure we are seeing a real shift by Costco...

  2. I just deleted a comment from someone named Nancy. It said, "But I really love to shop at Costco" and when you clicked on her name it went to an ad for a furniture product. It's just spam. Better done than most, but spam.


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