Wal-Mart decides to keep buying Alaska salmon

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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Wal-Mart announced Friday that it will continue purchasing Alaskan wild salmon after a four-month review of the state's Responsible Fisheries Management program.

Company officials toured Alaska earlier this month to see firsthand how the state handles its salmon industry, as part of Wal-Mart's public policy of keeping fisheries sustainable around the world.

Wal-Mart brought in The Sustainability Consortium to assist in its final decision on whether to continue purchasing Alaskan salmon. The organization based at the University of Arkansas made up of businesses, academic groups and nonprofits.

"Wal-Mart has proudly sourced seafood from the state of Alaska for many years, and under our newly revised sustainable sourcing policy, we will continue to do so," the company said in a statement.

Officials in Gov. Sean Parnell's administration and representatives of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute also traveled to Arkansas to make the case for Wal-Mart's continued purchase of Alaskan wild salmon.

"This is great news for Alaska's seafood industry and the state as a whole," Parnell said in a statement.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski's office said in a statement Friday that she was happy the world's largest retailer stayed focused on the facts and science concerning Alaska's salmon industry "rather than rhetoric of groups outside the state who are pursuing an anti-Alaska campaign."

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has 4,253 stores in the U.S. and 620 Sam's Club warehouses. The company, based in Bentonville, Ark., had $405 billion in sales last year.

Alaska's salmon fishery was the second fishery in the world to receive certification through the Ireland-based Global Trust Certification, which handles international verification on sustainability of natural resources. Iceland's cod fishery was the first.

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