Walton Family Foundation Urges Action on Seafood Traceability Ahead of World Oceans Day
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 7, 2022 — A new Morning Consult poll commissioned by the Walton Family Foundation shows a majority of Americans (70%) want their seafood to be sourced sustainably and that Americans want to know where their food is processed (65%), an important step in ensuring seafood is sourced by companies with high environmental and human rights standards.
Released ahead of World Oceans Day, this new data shows near-universal agreement on the need to protect the oceans, and that Americans are committed to sustainable seafood as a means of keeping the oceans’ fragile ecosystem in balance.
“The challenges of climate change intersect with building resilient food systems in our world’s oceans,” said Moira Mcdonald, Environment Program Director at the Walton Family Foundation. “At the Walton Family Foundation, we focus on sustainable seafood because we know that when you take care of the fish, you’re necessarily taking care of everything else that matters in the ocean. So, that means being smart about how much we fish, what we fish and where we fish.”
Traceability of seafood, meaning where it is caught, processed, and sold, has become an increasingly important and topical issue as sanctions against Russia have made tracing the origin of seafood even more consequential. Currently, less than half of the seafood that comes into the United States has traceability requirements.
- Almost three-quarters (72%) support traceability, or the ability to track seafood through the supply chain. Traceability has strong bipartisan support with:
- ○ 81% of Democrats,
- ○ 64% of independents, and
- ○ 70% of Republicans backing the proposal.
- ○ Both seafood consumers (76%) and non-seafood consumers (68%) support increasing traceability of seafood.
- Strong majorities of Americans back common-sense actions and stronger regulations to track and trace seafood:
- ○ 78% say restaurants and grocery stores are responsible for checking the source of their food,
- ○ 68% say we need stronger regulations to track and trace seafood,
- ○ 68% say technology is an easy way to track and trace seafood, and
- ○ 63% say increasing traceability will increase the freshness of seafood.
“Americans want to know where the seafood they eat comes from and that responsible fishing practices are being used,” said Mcdonald. “We need industry and government to work together to strengthen our systems so that fishers who are doing the right thing are not at a competitive disadvantage.”
PBS NewsHour science correspondent and Tipping Point executive producer, Miles O’Brien, will host a live-streamed special, “Tipping Point: Fisheries on the Brink” to explore the connections between climate change, warming oceans, migrating fish populations, the economic stressors facing fishermen and the fishing industry, bad actors on the high seas, and ever-growing seafood demand this Wednesday, June 8th at 7:00 p.m. ET. The special includes live and recorded interviews with various officials, scientists, fishermen, and thought leaders including United States special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry, biologist Daniel Pauly, “The Climate Diet” author Paul Greenberg, Princeton professor Curtis Deutsch, and others.
About the Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses, work together to lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. To learn more, visit waltonfamilyfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.