By Margaret Bauman
Talks in Juneau this past week aimed at resolving sustainability certifications issues over seafood between retail giant Walmart and the state of Alaska have apparently proven fruitful, according to spokespersons for both sides.
Generally, the talks boiled down to less of a discussion on how to change Alaska’s Responsible Fisheries Management program and more of an exchange of information to help Walmart feel comfortable with the program, said Tyson Fick, communications manager for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.
“We spent the day working to demonstrate RFM and Alaska’s fish management is consistent with the principles outlined through the multi-stakeholder sustainability consortium process,” said Fick. Walmart is a member of The Sustainability Consortium, which provides sustainability related information to its members
David Baskin, Walmart’s vice president of meat and seafood, issued a statement saying that Sustainability Consortium,” Baskin said. “Walmart has proudly sourced seafood from the state of Alaska for many years, and we continue to do so. By working together to ensure the RFM program meets TSC’s principles, we’ll continue to source quality seafood from Alaska for years to come while also ensuring sustainable seafood is available to future generations.”
“Walmart remains committed to promoting worldwide seafood sustainability,” he said. “We know that sustainable practices are not only important to our business but to our customers as well.
“That’s way we have been engaged in open and transparent dialogue with Alaska fisheries, suppliers, NGOs (non-governmental organizations), industry experts and government,” he said.
Walmart executive came to Juneau at the invitation of Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell. Representatives of the state, including ASMI, met earlier with Walmart officials at the company’s headquarters in Arkansas.