This week, Whole Foods, the upscale grocer, said it is eliminating 12 fish species from its seafood section as part of its commitment to ocean conservation. The fish, rated "red" by conservation groups that evaluate overfishing and other problems, include popular choices like Atlantic halibut, octopus, and some tuna.
In a video circulated by the company, chef and author Michel Nischan called Whole Foods' decision "massive, because you have a super-large retailer ... making a very difficult choice."
Whole Foods isn't the only company to stop buying certain fish because of how they're caught or raised. Target and Wal-Mart have also committed to purchasing certain fish certified as more sustainable by independent bodies.
But even as some retailers increasingly rely on certification schemes and rating systems to try to offer consumers more trustworthy choices, consumers still find themselves having to bone up on fisheries science and gear if they want to buy sustainably harvested fish.