May 5th, 2012 11:18 EST
Greenpeace Releases 2012 CATO Report
On Wednesday, 2 May, Greenpeace released its 2012 Carting Away the Oceans (CATO) report and its accompanying Seafood Sustainability Scorecard (full report at www.greenpeace.org). The CATO report rates, analyzes, and informs consumers on seafood sustainability at American supermarket chains since 2008. U.S. consumers buy about half of their seafood at the supermarket fish counter. Americans love seafood. If their supermarkets continue to only offer unsustainable choices from imperiled areas of the ocean, will there be any seafood left to love?
Global industrialized fishing continues to devastate our oceans on a massive scale. In spite of overwhelming evidence and strong warnings from the scientific community, harmful fishing practices continue. Populations of the ocean`s apex predators "sharks, tuna, swordfish, and similar animals "have dropped by as much as 90 percent. Bycatch remains a scandalous problem: each day, an enormous portion of the world`s total seafood catch is tossed over the sides of fishing boats due to inefficient, indiscriminate fishing methods. The worst of the destructive fishing practices, bottom trawling, is responsible for 80 percent of all bycatch incurred globally.
Through varying combinations of progressive policy development, public support for conservation measures, and the elimination of unsustainable seafood inventory items on the red list such as Chilean Sea Bass, many of the 20 U.S. supermarkets rated have improved their score each year since 2008 (see the diagram on page 7 of the CATO report).
This year, for the first time, the CATO report features two retailers "Safeway and Whole Foods "that have earned green ratings. The ratings evaluate retailers on many levels including the sale of `red list` seafood, engagement with conservation initiatives, transparency of supply, and the establishment of cohesive internal policies to score each retailer on a scale of 1-10. Although the two retailers are extremely different in business model, consumer demographic, and size, they have each found ways to excel in their promotion and adoption of sustainable seafood for their consumers. Greenpeace wants supermarkets to take responsibility for the products they sell and to offer their consumers a chance to help save the oceans by making sustainable choices.
The Carting Away the Oceans report and its accompanying seafood scorecard has been an extremely helpful aid to inform shoppers which supermarkets will allow them to make the right seafood choices "and which ones won`t. John Hocevar, Oceans Campaign Director at Greenpeace, and Phil Radford, Executive Director of Greenpeace, are available for interviews May 2 "23 to discuss the following from the CATO report:
What is the true nature of the seafood industry and what are or aren`t the supermarket retailers doing about it?
Of the 20 featured supermarkets, Harris Teeter, Aldi, and Delhaize also showed significant movement toward sustainability. Publix and Winn-Dixie/Bi-Lo continue to rank at the bottom, as they have in each year the CATO report has been released.
How can the commercial fishing industry, retailers, and consumers work together to ensure smart supplies of sustainable seafood?
How big a part of Greenpeace`s overall oceans campaign is the Carting Away the Oceans report?
If we don`t change how we eat seafood, will we see the end of available fish for consumption in our lifetimes?
By fishing, stocking, and shopping responsibly, can we ensure that fish is available for us to eat for the future?
Since seafood retailers buy straight from the fisherman, will they have the most direct effect on whether red-list fish are sought in the first place? Do they wield more leverage with other industry retailers?
Greenpeace is campaigning for sustainable fishing methods and marine reserves covering 40% of the world`s oceans.
Phil Radford, Executive Director of Greenpeace, is at the helm of one of the largest and most influential environmental organizations in the country. Phil leads a national team of 500 highly-skilled environmental leaders working in 23 cities across the U.S. on national and global campaigns to protect our planet`s oceans, forests, and climate.
John Hocevar, Oceans Campaign Director at Greenpeace, is a trained marine biologist and an accomplished campaigner, explorer, and marine scientist, John has helped win several major victories for marine conservation since becoming the director of Greenpeace`s oceans campaign in 2004. John has been featured on many national TV and radio networks. John directed a campaign that secured the first cap on factory fishing for menhanden in the Chesapeake Bay (menhanden is the second largest fishery in the United States). He then led a successful campaign to persuade the Bush administration to scrap its plans to eliminate important fisheries protections. During the past three years, facing multi-million dollar opposition from the fishing industry, John`s team won successively lower catch levels for the pollock fishery, the world`s largest food fishery. A full bio is available on request.
Greenpeace is the largest independent direct-action environmental organization in the world. The Greenpeace fleet of ships is a major tool we use in our actions to protect the environment. Our ships often sail to remote areas of the earth to go direct to the source of the environmental destruction we are working to protect against. For over 40 years Greenpeace has been winning campaigns to protect the environment. We do not take any money from corporations, industry or government. Our only bottom line is a green and peaceful future. There are Greenpeace offices in 40 countries spanning six continents, all dedicated to preserving the future of our planet. Greenpeace relies on individuals to make the changes needed and is backed by 2.8 million supporters worldwide. For more information, please see www.greenpeace.org.