Walmart changes its seafood policy

29 Jan 2014
Walmart has updated its seafood policy

Walmart has updated its seafood policy

Walmart has changed it sustainable seafood policy, which now incorporates the latest science and principles by The Sustainability Consortium (TSC).

This means that if a certification programme meets the principles set out by TSC, products certified by that programme can be sold in Walmart stores.

Walmart’s previous policy stated that all wild caught fish sold in its stores must be certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or an ‘equivalent’. However, no exact equivalent of the MSC exists. This became a problem for Alaskan salmon fisheries when, in 2012, the state’s primary salmon processors decided to opt out of the MSC programme, largely for financial reasons.

The Alaskan salmon industry maintains that its commitment to seafood sustainability is second to none and has adopted the FAO-based Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) programme. Campaigners including US Senator Mark Begich then urged Walmart to consider RFM as acceptable to meet its sustainability requirements.  

Following a four-month, multi-stakeholder process, Walmart has revised its policy to include programmes that comply with the Principles of Credible Sustainability Programs developed by TCS. The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) is now working with the retailer to show how the RFM programme meets the principles incorporated in Walmart’s new strategy.

“Walmart has proudly sourced seafood from the state of Alaska for many years, and under our newly revised sustainable sourcing policy, we will continue to do so”, wrote David Baskin, Walmart’s vice president of meat and seafood in a blog statement.

Alaska State Senator Lisa Murkowski has commended the decision.

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