Representatives from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI), Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development (DCCED), Department of Fish and Game, and Office of the Governor met today with senior executives from Walmart and Sam's Club at their corporate headquarters in Arkansas to discuss Alaska seafood.
The meeting comes after Governor Sean Parnell sent a letter to Walmart CEO Michael Duke urging him to reconsider the company's decision to no longer purchase salmon from sources that aren't certified as sustainable by the controversial Marine Stewardship Council.
"Our commitment to sustainability is embedded in our state constitution, which will always supersede international trade group certifications," said Governor Parnell. "I am pleased Walmart is taking the time to learn more about Alaska's sustainability practices and third-party certification. People throughout the world associate Alaska with fresh, delicious, wild-harvested seafood. We will continue pushing Walmart to offer its customers the opportunity to purchase nutritious wild Alaska salmon."
As reported in a recent study conducted for ASMI by the independent McDowell Group, fisheries production is a key economic driver in Alaska, providing more than 63,000 in-state jobs and contributing more than $6 billion to Alaska's economy in 2011.
"We thank Walmart for engaging in our discussions today," said DCCED Commissioner Susan Bell. "We are optimistic that Walmart will recognize Alaska fisheries as sustainably managed."