Walmart USA and Sam’s Club are dedicated to helping people save money and live better. Walmart customers and members count on the supermarket to deliver more sustainably sourced products, including essential seafood commodities that provide protein, nutrition and income for hundreds of millions worldwide.
Walmart has announced more robust standards to improve 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 threaten ocean ecosystems.
The enhanced seafood policy covers Walmart USA, Walmart Canada and Sam’s Club suppliers and asks tuna suppliers to source exclusively from vessels that have 100 percent observer monitoring (electronic monitoring or human observer) by 2027 and to source from fisheries using zero high seas transhipment unless the transhipment activity is covered by 100 percent observer monitoring (electronic monitoring or human coverage) by 2027.
Because of systemic issues like illegal and destructive fishing, over one-third of the world’s fisheries are now operating at unsustainable levels, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. A 2019 study found that, because of these issues, around one million animal and plant species, including sharks, whales and dolphins, are now threatened by extinction. The seafood sector stands at a critical juncture, with Walmart believing that accelerating action is essential.
Walmart’s new sourcing requirements build on purposeful collaborations and a commitment to systemic change. With its updated seafood policy, the supermarket can help lay the foundation for a more resilient and transparent tuna supply chain that allows people and the planet to thrive.
According to Mark Zimring, director of large-scale fisheries at The Nature Conservancy, one of Walmart’s key collaborators, said that the bottom line was that if the supermarket wants customers to have confidence that seafood products have been harvested ethically, legally and sustainably, harvested without labour abuses or shark finning, granular science and compliance monitoring data from aboard vessels was. This is where on-the-water monitoring fits in.