WalMart, Alaska salmon industry at odds

This is Chris Cocoles, working on my first issue as Alaska Sporting Journal editor. My plan is to be more active posting tidbits as I get more accustomed to my duties. But I found this interesting story out of Anchorage regarding WalMart’s possible pulling of Alaska salmon off the retail giant’s shelves. Protests are taking place at stores Alaska, and state officials plan to state their case at the company’s retail headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.

Some of the key points in this Anchorage Daily News report:

“There’s tremendous demand for high quality, wild Alaska salmon,” said Tyson Fick, communications director for the state-supported seafood marketing institute. “We absolutely would like to get this behind us. I think we are on the path of getting there.”

Wal-Mart says it wants a solution.

“Let’s be honest. I don’t think Wal-Mart wants demonstrators in front of supercenters. I don’t think we want fisherman upset about what is going on or in the dark about what our policy is or how we’re going to move forward,” said Chris Schraeder, Wal-Mart senior manager for sustainability communications. “As much as it’s in Alaska’s interest to find a resolution to this quickly, it’s in Wal-Mart’s interest to find a resolution to this quickly.”

Wal-Mart won’t say how much Alaska salmon it sells, or how much of its seafood comes from Alaska. But it’s obviously an important line for the world’s biggest retailer. Seafood is the primary protein source for 3 billion people, Wal-Mart’s executive vice president for food, Jack Sinclair, wrote on an Aug. 8 blog post addressing the Alaska controversy.

“Our sustainable seafood commitment seems to have made waves recently in Alaska, where the state is proposing an alternative standard for sustainable fisheries management,” his blog post began. “It’s generated a lively debate on how to best ensure sustainable seafood for our customers today and for generations to come.”



Needless to say, whenever locals get involved in a dispute with big corporations like WalMart, it can get pretty heated.

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