Walmart to put SA hake on US tables

25 July 2011

US consumers will soon be able to serve hake caught off the southern African coastline on their tables, following a deal between South African fishing company Oceanfresh and global retail giant Walmart.

Oceanfresh, which was recently purchased by London-based conglomerate Lonrho, this week announced that its pure Hake Fillets will be sold in 500 Walmart stores in the US from October onwards.

Oceanfresh is among the first South African companies to supply seafood to Walmart’s US operations. As a result, the company has expanded its production capabilities, which will create over 100 direct jobs and hundreds of indirect jobs to meet the new orders.

“Lonrho is delighted that Oceanfresh has been appointed as a fish supplier to the world’s largest retailer Walmart,” Lonrho CEO David Lenigas said in a statement this week.

Responsible fishing policies

The Oceanfresh fillets come from wild caught, sustainably sourced, nutritious white hake that is fished in the deep, cold waters of the Benguela current off the coast of southern Africa. The company operates a sustainable fishing model, fishing in regions that are well below agreed 35% sustainable fishing volumes.

Hake is a new line for Walmart, and is an example of the retailer’s commitment to offer the broadest assortment possible, as well as to provide its customers with seafood from responsibly managed sustainable sources.

“Lonrho understands the importance of responsible fishing policies and prides itself on delivering the best quality products that are wild caught and from well managed and sustainable sources,” said Lenigas.

Sustainable seafood initiative

The sustainable fishing policies operated by Oceanfresh in southern Africa under the World Wildlife Fund’s Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) were important issues for Walmart in choosing Oceanfresh as a supplier.

“Lonrho’s Oceanfresh division has been diligent in working with the World Wildlife Fund’s sustainable sourcing program to ensure that fish stocks are properly managed and that catch quotas are within sustainable levels to maintain wild fish stocks for future generations,” said Lenigas.

Lonrho’s agricultural division acquired 51% of Oceanfresh in June 2010, for a cash payment of R3.8-million, for the equity, to be reinvested in the business, and an initial working capital injection of R7.7-million to grow the business.

SAinfo reporter

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