"Is Sustainable-Labeled Seafood Really Sustainable?"

The labels meant to give consumers confidence in the sustainability of the seafood they buy may be deceptive.

"Rebecca Weel pushes a baby stroller with her 18-month-old up to the seafood case at Whole Foods, near ground zero in New York. As she peers at shiny fillets of salmon, halibut and Chilean sea bass labeled 'certified sustainable,' Weel believes that if she purchases this seafood, she will help protect the world's oceans from overfishing.

But some leading environmentalists have a different take: Consumers like Weel are being misled by a global program that amounts to 'greenwashing' -- a strategy that makes consumers think they are protecting the planet, when actually they are not.

At Whole Foods, the seafood counter displays blue labels from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), an international, nonprofit organization. The MSC is a prime example of an economic trend: Private groups, not the government, are telling consumers what is good or bad for the environment. The MSC says its label guarantees that the wild seafood was caught using methods that do not deplete the natural supply. It also guarantees that fishing companies do not cause serious harm to other life in the sea, from coral to dolphins."

Daniel Zwerdling and Margot Williams report for NPR's All Things Considered February 11, 2013.

SEE ALSO:

"Conditions Allow for More Sustainable-Labeled Seafood" (NPR)

"Insight: Comeback Cod Lessens Gloom Over Emptying Oceans" (Reuters)

"New Group Seeks To Save Near-Lawless Oceans From Over-Fishing" (Reuters)

"Group Seeks to Jump-Start Ocean Protections" (Green/NYT)

Source: NPR, 02/12/2013