By Ramsey Cox
Begich wrote a letter to Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke complaining that MSC charges Alaskan fishermen logo and licensing fees and changes compliance requirements.
Begich suggested that Wal-Mart sell seafood that has been certified as sustainable by other programs as well.
“I strongly encourage you to consider other reliable and certified suppliers with a proven track record of fisheries sustainability such as Alaska,” the letter stated. “Sustainable fishery management is not just in Alaska’s blood, it is written into our constitution.”
Begich said Alaska now uses a certification program based on the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. Fisheries in Iceland and Canada use the same system.
In the letter, Begich applauded Wal-Mart for it’s “commitment to sustainability” but asked Duke to reconsider his decision to use MSC as its “sole arbiter” of which fish to sell.
Begich added that Alaska was “into sustainability before sustainability became cool.”