State officials are confident — although not sure — Walmart stores will continue purchasing Alaska seafood, following a series of discussions and tours in Juneau with company executives this week.
Walmart made a commitment in 2011 to only buy and sell fish certified as sustainable by the widely-recognized Marine Stewardship Council, and wanted proof that Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s certification program — the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization-based Responsible Fisheries Management — stacks up against MSC.
The company’s July 2013 decision to no longer purchase Alaska salmon evoked a response from Alaska’s fishing industry, prompting a September 2013 visit by Gov. Sean Parnell and other state representatives to Walmart’s Arkansas headquarters. According to Susan Bell, commissioner of the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, 97 percent of Walmart’s salmon comes from Alaska.
Chris Schraeder, Walmart’s senior manager of sustainability communications, said in a Wednesday statement that the company intends to continue purchasing Alaska salmon if the company determines RFM to be up to snuff.