Walmart Backs Global Seafood Sustainability Initiative in Seafood Procurement Policy
Walmart has become the latest retailer to align its seafood procurement policies in support of the Global Seafood Sustainably Initiative (GSSI). “By 2025, based on price, availability, quality, customer demand, and unique regulatory environments across our global retail markets, Walmart U.S., Sam’s Club, ASDA, Walmart Canada, Walmart Brazil, Walmart Mexico, and Walmart Central America will require all fresh and frozen, farmed and wild seafood suppliers to source from fisheries who are: Third-party certified as sustainable using Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP), or certified by a program which follows the FAO Guidelines1 and is recognized by the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) as such," Walmart says under the seafood policy section on the retailer’s Policies and Guidelines webpage. Walmart is the world’s largest retailer and the second major retailer to back the GSSI policy. “We are very pleased to see Walmart join the ranks of leading companies that committed to GSSI’s non-competitive approach to building confidence in seafood certification," said GSSI Program Director Herman Wisse.
The Marine Stewardship Council has developed a simplified assessment process and is running a pilot program to test the process in the Echebastar Indian Ocean Skipjack Tuna fishery, which failed certification in 2015. The pilot program “aims to simplify the assessment process – reducing complexity and cost whilst improving effectiveness of stakeholder engagement and maintaining credibility,” according to MSC. The process to certify Echebastar IO Skipjack now proceeds through a first round of stakeholder comments on the “review of the desk review report.” The stakeholder comment period is open until 15 March 2017. Then the site visits for the fishery are planned, the first in Bilbao, Spain the week of March 27, 2017 followed by a site visit in the Seychelles the week of April 3, 2017.
In other news, The Scottish Salmon Company reported higher sales in 2016 as globally higher salmon prices helped offset production declines from ongoing sea lice problems. “Industry wide biological challenges and mortalities reported in the previous quarter continued to impact on expected harvest volumes and drove up production and operating costs by 15 percent,“ the company said. “Higher prices did help to mitigate the effect of the volume losses and operating revenues for the full year showed an increase,” the company said.
Meanwhile, commercial longline fishing fleets in Alaska are awaiting word about whether the season for halibut and black cod will actually start on March 11th. That’s the date voted on for halibut fishing by the International Pacific Halibut Commission in January. Typically the National Marine Fisheries Service also opens long-line fishing for black cod on the same day. The reason for the uncertainty is an executive order from President Trump in January requiring for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination.
Finally, the first report of shrimp landings from the Gulf of Mexico in 2017 was released this week and continued to show harvest levels below the five-year-average for this fishery. January is a historically unproductive time of the year for the Gulf shrimp fishery. Between now and May there is little expectation for production relief. This coupled, with last year’s poor commercial season, means Gulf shrimp inventories will remain tight, which is likely to keep market prices for domestic shrimp higher for the time being.
Have a great weekend.
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