U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski is continuing to lobby the largest retailer on earth to carry products made with salmon from Alaska. On Wednesday Senator Lisa Murkowski sent a letter to the incoming CEO of Walmart outlining her concerns with the current purchasing practices of Walmart in regards to salmon from Alaska.
Earlier this year Walmart announced that it would only be sourcing salmon products that met the sustainability guidelines put forward by the Marine Stewardship Council. Alaska’s commercially caught salmon are currently eligible to carry the MSC label but the majority of the seafood processors that operate in Alaska have withdrawn their support for MSC and instead have thrown their support behind the Responsible Fisheries Management certification program supported by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. As it stands now Walmart is apparently not stocking salmon products that do not carry the MSC label.
In her letter Senator Murkowski referenced the commitment by Walmart to look at expanding its purchasing policy to include the RFM certification. However, Walmart is still examining the issue and has not yet changed its policy. In her letter Senator Murkowski asserted that there are no doubts the Alaska’s fisheries are sustainably managed and she hopes that the RFM certification program will be validated through the process being undertaken by Walmart to reevaluate its purchasing policies.
If Walmart chooses to recognize the RFM program then products made with Alaska salmon should be readily available on store shelves. However, if Walmart stays with its current policy it might be very difficult to find products made with Alaska salmon because there are currently only a few small processors working under the MSC program in Alaska.
Senator Murkowski ended her letter by inviting the new Walmart CEO Doug McMillon to visit Alaska and see and taste the wild Alaska salmon that she believes many Walmart customers want to see on their grocery store shelves. Walmart is the largest retailer on earth and is the largest supplier of groceries in the United States.