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WAL-MART GIVES $36 MILLION TO ANTI-FISHING GROUPS

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WAL-MART GIVES $36 MILLION TO ANTI-FISHING GROUPS

RFA Says Walton Family Foundation Supports MPA & Catch Share Efforts

August 17, 2011 - Wal-Mart announced this week its efforts to help fund the demise of both the recreational and commercial fishing industry while also working to ensure that the next generation of sportsmen will have less access to coastal fish stocks than at any point in U.S. history.

In August 16th news release from Wal-Mart corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, the Walton Family Foundation announced investments totaling more than $71.8 million awarded to various environmental initiatives in 2010, with over $36 million alone handed over to Marine Conservation grantees including Ocean Conservancy, Conservation International Foundation, Marine Stewardship Council, World Wildlife Fund and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

According to the release, the Walton Family Foundation "focuses on globally important marine areas and works with grantees and other partners to create networks of effectively managed protected areas that conserve key biological features, and ensure the sustainable utilization of marine resources - especially fisheries - in a way that benefits both nature and people."

Scott Burns, former director of marine conservation at World Wildlife Fund and now director of Walton Family Foundation's environmental efforts, said money will go to "protect and conserve natural resources while also recognizing the roles these waters play in the livelihoods of those who live nearby." The Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) countered that these specially managed areas of coastal waters are also referred to as marine protected areas or marine reserves, and the end result is denied angler access, of no benefit to the very people whom Wal-Mart claims to benefit.

"A quick visit to the Ocean Conservancy website should be telling enough for anglers interested in learning where Wal-Mart's profits are being spent," said RFA executive director Jim Donofrio. "These folks are pushing hard to complete California's network of exclusionary zones throughout the entire length of coastline, and they've made it very clear that they would like to see the West Coast version of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) extended into other coastal U.S. waters," he said.

The release said that targeted marine areas moving forward include Indonesia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, the Gulf of California and the Gulf of Mexico.

"Here's an organization which has publicly opposed creation of artificial reefs used by Wal-Mart's tackle buyers, in some cases openly advocating for their removal, yet the Walton family is handing over tons of money for support," Donofrio said of Ocean Conservancy in particular.

"Shopping for fishing equipment at Wal-Mart is contributing directly to the demise of our sport, it's supporting lost fishing opportunities and decreased coastal access for all Americans," Donofrio said, adding "I hope all RFA members across the country will remember that when it's time to gear up, but I would also wonder if perhaps our industry can help spread the message and support our local tackle shops by also pulling product off Wal-Mart's shelves."

In April, RFA announced its support of a national boycott of the Safeway Supermarket chain (which also includes Genuardi's in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware) because of that corporation's support for California's MLPA initiative. "Apparently Safeway has gotten some bad advice from the people in the ocean protection racket, a community to which the California-based mega-corporation is now donating profits," said Jim Martin, West Coast Regional Director of the RFA. "Safeway says it is supporting groups that make a difference like the Food Marketing Institute's Sustainable Seafood Working Group, the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions and the World Wildlife Fund's Aquaculture Dialogues, but it's little more than corporate greenwashing."

RFA believes it's time that Wal-Mart was added to the angler boycott list as well.

"The Walton family created this huge corporate entity which has threatened the vibrancy of our local retail outlets, and now they're essentially doing the same thing with our fishing communities," Donofrio said. "Much like Safeway has done with their financial investment in the environmental business community, Wal-Mart apparently prefers customers buy farm-raised fish and seafood caught by foreign countries outside of U.S. waters, while denying individual anglers the ability to head down to the ocean to score a few fish for their own table."

According to the official release, the Walton Family Foundation is also working "to create economic incentives for ocean conservation," while candidly pledging their support for "projects that reverse the incentives to fish unsustainably that exist in 'open access fisheries' by creating catch share programs."

"Our local outfitters and tackle shops along the coast have had to face an immense challenge by going up against Wal-Mart's purchasing power during the last decade, but now that the Walton family is so up front about their opposition to open access fisheries, it's hard for me to believe that any sportsmen would ever be interested in shopping there again," Donofrio said.

"California anglers have been outraged to learn that money they spend at a Safeway grocery store might end up in the hands of extremist, anti-fishing groups like the EDF and the Ocean Conservancy, I hope more anglers will join the national boycott by sending a message to Wal-Mart as well as Safeway," Martin added.

According to the Walton Family Foundation website, Sam and Helen Walton launched their "modest retail business in 1962" with guiding principle of helping "increase opportunity and improve the lives of others along the way." It is that principle the foundation says, that makes them "more focused than ever on sustaining the Walton's timeless small-town values and deep commitment to making life better for individuals and communities alike."

RFA said grassroots efforts to combat the anti-fishing agenda are more than just an uphill climb. "The EDF catch share coffers are already filled to the top, while Pew Charitable Trusts has billions in reserve," Donofrio said. "When you add another $36 million annual commitment from the Walton family each year, I can't see how our local efforts can get anywhere unless the national manufacturers step up and openly denounce this corporate takeover once and for all."

"The individual anglers and local business owners are being denied opportunity, and I hope the federal trade representatives are willing to get onboard with their support of real small-town values," Donofrio said, adding that Ocean Conservancy and EDF combined received more than $10 million in Walton Family Foundation grants in 2010.

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I have always despised Wal-Mart for their corporate greed, suppression of their workforce, and use of Chinese products stealthily disguised under the "Great Value" line. I do not, and will not shop there. Thanks for the information, as I and many may never have been aware otherwise. Support your local stores to help keep them open, and Wal-Mart away! :devil:

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Walmart is ruining America. Don't shop there either......end of story.

Mark

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I have always despised Wal-Mart for their corporate greed, suppression of their workforce, and use of Chinese products stealthily disguised under the "Great Value" line. I do not, and will not shop there. Thanks for the information, as I and many may never have been aware otherwise. Support your local stores to help keep them open, and Wal-Mart away! :devil:

I could not have said it any better!!!

Jay

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See I thought it was the whacky releatives who hold the trust fund moneys from when sam walton died. No wal mart corporate affiliation.

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With all due respect to your opinions,the RFA is not exactly a sports fisherman organisation.It is much more a front of commercial fishing interests which is using the terms "sports and recreational" as a front to hide behind while protecting industrial interests and destroying what is left over of our natural fishing stocks in the name of profit.

If large corporations like Walmart donate money to organizations that try to save some of our fishing stocks for our children (much like the DEC does in NY) it can only be applauded. So please do not judge the gift too quickly.

Destroying what is left over after all the over fishing and pollution is not smart. Trying to save it is smart.

Here is something that I would like to add.

California is trying a system that has proven itself in Polynesia for hundreds of years. By closing certain areas for extended time periods,the stocks there completely rebound and then they start spilling over in the surrounding areas where the stocks also rebound. In Polynesia,which is very dependent on its fishery, it was and still is one of the responsibilities of the village headman to chose which areas to open and close for fishing. This system has successfully maintained healthy stock around the islands.

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yea u guys kinda miss the big picture.....this has to do mostly witht the west coast where there are NO MORE SALMON and alot of other species are being ovverfished........because of overfishing by both commercial and public.........yea walmart is the devil but some people took this whole story and contorted it to make us all think theyr out to stop fishing....now come on....they have a sizeable fishing and hunting dept. and ur meaning to tell me they want to get rid of that profitability...i dont think so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!MAN IM PRETTY RADICAL BUT SOME PEOPLE TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL! tunnel vision i think ,everyones all so Against walmart but u know what ive seen even the most anti walmart people walk in the doors when they need somthing ,absolutly need it and all the other stores are closed........convenience is the beast that created that monopoly, lazy americans willing and ready to cut any corners they can to make their lives more convenient! and the percentage of people that dont give in to it is verrrrry low trust me.

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Irish, you have made what most folks would see as valid points. Without turning this into a Wal-Mart bash fest, I feel it is important to point out that a giant such as Wal-Mart will throw around 75+ million and think nothing of it just to keep a governor, senator, congressman, etc. in their pocket. They are in the business of making money, big money. Well, it costs money to make money, we all know that. Do you realize Wal-Mart sales average 36 million......per hour! (At 5.8% profit margin thats 21k per minute...of pure profit....but who is counting. Wal-Mart does not need to worry about their fishing department. If it didn't exist all all, they would not even notice. Their concern is moving into the next down, shutting down the little guys (yep even the tackle shops....grocery stores, craft shops, portrait studios, hardware stores, paint stores, pharmacies, etc.) with their super centers. They can't make those moves without political help. They make hundreds of donations to various entities each year, some of which contradict the values of each other! Wal-Mart is simply greasing the palms of whomever they need to, as to continue with their business plan, and that sickens me. I am not a radical guy at all, or a conspiracy theorist. Just average Joe with a (limited) business background, and a manager in a worldwide company that supports responsibility, sharing, continuous improvement, and the freedom of their employees. Exact opposite of the values of Wal-Mart. Screw them.

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u know what ur talking about guy, props to you, but i still think my point is valid.....why would they get rid of a good thing they have a monopoly over the average joe and the basic outdoorsman and woman.....the ones who dont get as into it as us folks on this board....quite frankly theres 100 average joes out to just put a pole in the water or shoot a gun to every one of us novice to pro outdoorsman and woman. and walmart has a monopoly on that market cuz they can sell everything cheiper b/c/ of their corporate structure....those uneducated, basic folk whom dont frequent bait shops and tackle stores and gun shops will and have always went to walmart for the selection of cheip gear.....those of us that make it an obsession and a part time hobby or job stay away cuz we know better.......so i just dont see it i guess theyve got to be making a killing in those dept's. there will always be lazy americans, face it were loosing the race to china and we wonder why......so as long as these people exist walmart will make a profit off them. regardless of what they do to take down the mom and pop shops. unfortunate but true...

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