04 September 2013

Wild About Alaska Salmon? Wal-Mart's Not

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Nearly 40 Alaska fishermen protested Wednesday outside an Anchorage Wal-Mart store, upset with a decision by the company about how it buys seafood.

From left fisherman Richard Collins of Cordova, fisherman and vice president of Cordova District Fishermen United John Renner, former Cordova fisherman and now Anchorage attorney Forrest Dunbar and fisherman Ron Stephens of Anchorage confer during a protest by about 40 Alaska fishermen and supporters Wednesday, September 4, 2013, in front of the Wal-Mart Supercenter in south Anchorage. Their complaint is over a decision by corporate Wal-Mart officials to not sell salmon unless its source is certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council or another program. Fishermen say most Alaska seafood processors are no longer affiliated with the Marine Stewardship Council. The protest comes a day before state officials plan to meet with Wal-Mart executives in Arkansas to explain Alaska's own certification system, which the company is considering for alternate certification.
ERIK HILL — Anchorage Daily News
Holding signs like "Buy American? Start with Alaska Salmon" and "Walmart should be WILD about sustainable ALASKA SALMON," the protesters received honks from passing motorists in south Anchorage.

The protest came a day before Alaska state and seafood industry officials were to meet with executives of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., at the company's headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.

In 2011, the world's largest retailer decided to only buy seafood that was certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council, a London-based organization; fish in a fishery improvement program; or any equivalent certification program, of which there currently are none, said Chris Schraeder, a Wal-Mart spokesman.

A number of large Alaska processors have dropped the MSC program because of costs and burdensome paperwork, said Greg Gabriel, executive director of the Northwest and Alaska Seiners Association of Kenai, Alaska.

"We would like Wal-Mart to recognize that there are other certifications out there, and the state of Alaska is a leader in sustainability, always has been, always will be," Gabriel said.

Read the rest here.


Old NFO said...

Hopefully they do. It would be nice to actually have them support a US industry!

Rev. Paul said...

It would be a nice change of pace, NFO.

ProudHillbilly said...

If I remember right, once upon a time Wal-Mart championed U.S. products. Now, China is cheaper and no matter what they say, cheaper is at the core.

At our April retreat, we had a Wal-Mart manager and an anti-Wal-Mart priest on team. Both with good senses of humor. It was hysterical. Zing poke zing poke ZING!

And I wouldn't buy meat at Wal-Mart for all the tea in China. Pardon the pun.

Rev. Paul said...

PH, you're right: they used to trumpet loudly about how many American industries they supported. But the bottom line controls everything.

threecollie said...

We won't buy Walmart meat either. Too many recalls from their sources. This kind of a thing is a problem in almost all US industries. If we want local butter...as in produced in the same state in which we live, there is only one place we can get it. Local supermarket sells California butter....how fresh and yummy. Hope these guys can successfully make their point!

Rev. Paul said...

threecollie, we get our salmon from Costco: the Alaska salmon there is reasonably priced, and we've not had any go bad.

Teresa said...

Meat? Not just meat, I don't shop at Walmart period. But it's because I don't like their stores at all. Unless you're in a small town and Walmart is the only place to shop, the stores are total garbage. (and that's not just the people who shop there, but the stores themselves). In small towns they tend to be better run. But I don't live near any of those so I don't shop there.

Rev. Paul said...

I hear you, T. The only things we get at the "super center" are herbal supplements & vitamins ... that sort of thing.