Walmart, Sam’s Club strengthen tuna-sourcing requirements

A school of tuna.

Walmart is updating is seafood sourcing policy to require tuna suppliers to source exclusively from vessels that have 100 percent observer monitoring – either electronic or human observer – by 2027.

The Bentonville, Arkansas, U.S.A.-based operator of more than 10,500 stores globally, including nearly 4,700 Walmart stores and nearly 600 Sam’s Club stores in the U.S., said tuna suppliers must also source from fisheries using zero high seas transshipment, unless the transshipment activity is covered by 100 percent observer monitoring by 2027. The changes apply to Walmart U.S., Walmart Canada, and Sams Club stores.

Our enhanced seafood sourcing standards build on purposeful collaborations and a commitment to systemic change. They are aimed at improving transparency and data gathering in the tuna supply chain to address issues such as accidental catch of non-targeted species, illegal fishing, and abandonment of fishing gear, all of which continue to pose a threat to ocean ecosystems,” Walmart U.S. Senior Vice President of Pantry Melody Richard told SeafoodSource. 

The retailer’s updated seafood policy can help lay the foundation “for a more resilient and transparent tuna supply chain that allows people and the planet to thrive,” Richard said.

Along with its goal to have all Walmart and Sams Club shelf-stable private and national brand tuna come from a fishery improvement project or Marine Stewardship Council-certified fishery by 2025, the new requirements will “help build transparency, encourage best practices, and drive continuous improvement by helping address systemic issues in the tuna supply chain,” according to Walmart.

The company’s customers and members “count on us to deliver products that are more sustainably sourced, including key seafood commodities that provide protein, nutrition, and income for hundreds of millions of people around the world,” Walmart added.

Walmart prioritized the two changes because systemic issues in seafood supply chains, such as bycatch, illegal fishing, the abandonment of ghost gear and poor standards on fishing vessels, collectively pose a significant threat to the ocean and ... 

Photo courtesy of Walmart

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