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    Wal-Mart to Support Sustainable Fisheries

    BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart here said plans to purchase all of its wild-caught fresh and frozen fish for the North American market from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified fisheries within the next three to five years, as part of a commitment to offering sustainable products at affordable prices to its customers.

    BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart here said plans to purchase all of its wild-caught fresh and frozen fish for the North American market from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified fisheries within the next three to five years, as part of a commitment to offering sustainable products at affordable prices to its customers.

    "We believe it's absolutely essential to take a leadership role in working with suppliers to ensure that the world's wild fish populations can grow and replenish themselves," said Peter Redmond, Wal-Mart's v.p. and divisional merchandise manager of deli and seafood. "The MSC label assures our customers that they are buying from a retailer that is taking concrete steps to keep wild-caught fish available to present and future generations. This is both environmentally responsible and responsive to our customers."

    The first step toward this goal will be to have product that currently comes from MSC-certified fisheries carry the MSC eco-label, starting later this year.

    Wal-Mart is encouraging fisheries to adopt policies that ensure customers will continue to be supplied with a full range of wild-caught fish. The company currently works with a number of MSC-certified fisheries and is giving non-certified suppliers three to five years to develop plans and programs to become certified. If these suppliers commit to this initiative and succeed within that timeframe, Wal-Mart will continue to work with them.

    "This is a big and exciting development, demonstrating a leadership position," said Rupert Howes, c.e.o. of the Marine Stewardship Council. "It is hoped that this commitment to the MSC program will encourage other fisheries into the assessment process and provide a powerful new route to raise awareness of sustainable seafood choices with the North American public."

    "Our MSC certification initiative is only the latest result of Wal-Mart's efforts to promote and engage in sustainable business practices in the fish and seafood sector," said Wal-Mart's Redmond. "We have been working on programs for farm-raised shrimp and salmon and hope to be able to discuss our plans in those areas in the near future."

    In addition to its work with the MSC, Wal-Mart is partnering with Conservation International and World Wildlife Fund to make improvements such as reducing harmful environmental impacts and encouraging support for broader marine eco-system management and protection activities.

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