Greenpeace awarded Overwaitea a passing grade (51 per cent) yesterday — the first passing grade — in its second annual seafood sustainability rankings.

Eight grocery chains were ranked on criteria like policy, labelling and the traceability of products.

The B.C.-based grocer, which operates under six brands including Save-On-Foods, PriceSmart Foods and Urban Fare, finished fourth in 2009.

Greenpeace said the improved grade reflects the changes the store has made and its adoption of a sustainable seafood policy.

Rick Thompson, Overwaitea’s director of corporate responsibility, said promoting sustainable seafood has the “same flavour” as the popularization of organic foods, and consumer response has been positive.

Overwaitea has partnered with SeaChoice and has removed some items, including several of Greenpeace’s “redlist” species, like swordfish and Chilean sea bass.

Thompson said the store’s biggest push has been toward greater consumer education.

Wallet-sized guides to sustainable seafood are free for customers at the seafood counter. Staff are provided reference manuals so that they can “talk the talk” with customers.

“We knew this was going to be a long journey and those are the steps we have to take to get there,” Thompson said.