Over the past half century, demand for seafood has increased five-fold, with an estimated three quarters of the world's fisheries at or beyond sustainable limits. Meanwhile, an estimated 1 billion people rely on fish as their primary source of protein, while another 200 million depend on the industry as their main source of income, according to seafish.org.
Walmart U.S. and Sam's Club requires all fresh and frozen, farmed and wild seafood suppliers to become third-party certified as sustainable, using Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) or equivalent standards. We require currently uncertified fisheries and aquaculture suppliers — by June 2012 — to develop work plans to achieve certification.
As of Jan. 31, 2012, 76 percent of our fresh, frozen, farmed and wild seafood suppliers were third-party certified. An additional 8 percent had developed the required certification plans. One significant highlight over the past year has been the BAP certification of our Atlantic-farmed salmon and tilapia.
We continue to work closely with all seafood suppliers that have not yet developed plans for certification to help ensure that they meet the June 2012 deadline specified in our public goal. We are also collaborating with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) to identify high-risk fisheries and initiate Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs). In addition to partnering with the SFP, we have established five seafood working groups to help drive our sustainable seafood goal. These working groups focus on:
- Wild-caught seafood
- Farmed seafood
- Certification equivalencies
- Scorecard management and standards
- Canned tuna