Walmart and Sam’s Club are announcing stronger standards 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. The enhanced seafood policy covers Walmart U.S., Walmart Canada, and Sam’s Club suppliers and asks tuna suppliers to:
- Source exclusively from vessels that have 100% observer monitoring (electronic monitoring or human observer) by 2027
- Source from fisheries using zero-high-seas transshipment unless the transshipment activity is covered by 100% 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 Organization of the United Nations. In fact, a 2019 study found that, because of these issues, around 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened by extinction, including sharks, whales, and dolphins.
Walmart’s new sourcing requirements build on purposeful collaborations and a commitment to systemic change. Together, the 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. According to Mark Zimring, director of large-scale fisheries at The Nature Conservancy, one of Walmart’s key collaborators, “The bottom line is that if we want customers to have confidence that seafood products have been harvested ethically, legally, and sustainably—harvested without labor abuses or shark finning—we need granular science and compliance monitoring data from aboard vessels. This is where on-the-water monitoring fits in.”