Whole Foods to Offer Sustainable MSC-Certified, Harpoon-Caught Swordfish

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Whole Foods to Offer Sustainable MSC-Certified, Harpoon-Caught Swordfish


Whole Foods Market said yesterday it will be the only major retailer to offer Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified, fresh, harpoon-caught swordfish from Nova Scotia this summer as the sustainable seafood makes its way to the chain’s seafood departments over the next three months.

“To get this many fishermen on board with the MSC fishery sustainability program is no easy task and is a testament to their commitment to the future of the fishery,” said Dan Rand, Whole Foods port buyer. “Whole Foods cares about the sustainability of this fishery and is proud to offer this swordfish.”

According to Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods, fishermen involved in the program use a time-honored harpoon technique that allows them to target mature fish one by one, virtually eliminating bycatch or harm to ocean habitats. The small fleet uses predominantly family-owned boats, and because trips are short, swordfish arrives at stores quickly, with a goal of 48 hours from dock to store. The Canadian government worked directly with fishermen and Whole Foods to limit the season to three five-day intervals, ensuring an increased shelf life and plentiful swordfish.

For more than a decade, Whole Foods has recognized MSC as the leader in sustainable fishery certification. Seattle-based MSC has strict standards and rigorous third-party certification, including chain of custody, which verifies identification is in place to ensure that certified fishery products aren’t mixed with uncertified fishery products.