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Walmart, Alaska Haggle Over Salmon Certifications

Walmart logoWalmart may drop about 40 Alaskan salmon processors that stopped pursuing the Marine Stewardship Council label – a threat that has stirred state officials to lobby the retailer.

The processors of wild-caught salmon decided last year to drop the label because it was expensive and eroded their brand, Reuters reports. In June, Walmart sent a routine letter to salmon suppliers, warning them that they must have or be working towards MSC certification.

Now state officials have met with Walmart, urging it to keep selling the fish. Alaska fears other companies could parrot the retailer’s position and hurt the state economy, which is heavily dependent on fishing. The state argues that its own controls as well as Walmart’s internal regulations should suffice, and also says it might consider the Ireland-based Global Trust Certification.

Walmart received only a middling score of 5.4 in Greenpeace’s 2013 sustainable seafood scorecard, but the environmental group says the retailer has made progress. The company introduced both fish aggregating device-free skipjack and pole-and-line albacore in more than 3,000 stores across the US. Greenpeace says this move makes affordable, responsibly caught canned tuna available to the majority of the population in the US for the first time.


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