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Begich Commends Walmart on Commitment to Carry AK Seafood

Retail Giant Contacts Senator with Update on Seafood Certification

Responding to repeated requests from U.S. Senator Mark Begich, Walmart confirmed today that the company will continue to carry Alaska seafood in its stores for “years to come.”

In a letter to U.S. Senator Mark Begich, the retail giant described their “excitement” to work with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) to ensure Alaska seafood sustainability certifications meet Walmart standards.

“I called Walmart executives months ago to let them know I was concerned that their seafood certification standards would prevent Alaska seafood from being sold in their stores,” said Begich. “I invited them to visit Alaska to learn about our world-class seafood management practices and I’m glad they took me up on my offer.  The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute did a great job educating Walmart executives about sustainable seafood during their visit to Alaska.  Because of their efforts, Walmart is updating their sustainable seafood certification standards. This is great news for Alaskan fishermen and for coastal communities who rely upon fishing to keep their economies strong.”

In their letter to Begich, Walmart described their commitment to buying Alaska seafood and to work with ASMI to ensure the Responsible Fisheries Management standards meet the principles for credible sustainable fisheries programs as developed by The Sustainability Consortium.  Previously, Walmart relied upon the Marine Stewardship Council to determine fisheries sustainability. 

“Thanks to ASMI and the State of Alaska for showing Walmart what Alaskans already know—Alaskans put the “sustainable” in sustainable seafood,” said Begich.

A copy of the letter is below:

January 27, 2014

 

The Honorable Mark Begich

United States Senate

Suite SR-111

Russell Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Begich,

Thank you for your letter regarding the Alaska seafood industry and Walmart’s seafood sustainability policy. My team visited the state last week and shared that the trip was very productive. We greatly appreciate the time spent by state officials as well as the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI), Alaska Fisheries and other key members who participated in the meetings.

Walmart remains committed to buying Alaska seafood, and we’re excited that ASMI has agreed to work with us to ensure the Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) standard meets the principles for credible sustainable fisheries programs as developed by The Sustainability Consortium (TSC). 

‪As you pointed out, Alaska has been a model of fishery sustainability for decades, and American consumers have come to recognize the quality and sustainability of Alaska seafood. It is my goal that by working together, the Alaska seafood industry and its partners will work to uphold TSC’s principles so we can continue to source quality seafood from Alaska for years to come.

‪I look forward to the continued partnership with the state of Alaska. 

Sincerely,

Doug McMillon

Incoming President and Chief Executive Officer

‪Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

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