Fish Radio
July 16, 2013   Begich, Murkowski round haul WalMart, Park Service over seafood snub

AK Senate round haul

AK Senate round haul

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Alaska seafood is not good enough say Wal-Mart and the US Park Service. More after this –

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 Following the lead of Wal-Mart,  the US National Park Service says it will not sell any Alaska seafood if it is not labeled as “sustainably managed” by certain Outside groups.

 The Park Service announced last month that all food vendors at its parks and monuments, etc. can only serve seafood with an endorsement by two private enterprises:  the London-based Marine Stewardship Council or the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California.   

That leaves out Alaska seafood – the state and industry stakeholders have recently opted out of high priced endorsements from elsewhere, believing Alaska’s brand of fisheries oversight stands on its own merit.  

 Senator Lisa Murkowski has blasted the Park Service for its seafood snub – and for ignoring federal guidelines saying that “the government does not endorse any particular labeling or documentation program over another.”  

The Park Service also brushed aside the government’s own FishWatch program that has been rating US fisheries for years.  Murkowski is calling for immediate meetings with agency officials.

 Meanwhile, Senator Mark Begich is upbraiding Wal-Mart for dumping Alaska seafood in favor of an MSC label –

 Our fishing industry has chosen not be part of that because it seems like a lot of fees for nothing. Canada and Iceland also are not part of it. So we’re going to keep working on Wal-Mart.   

Begich finds it especially bothersome because the MSC showcased Alaska salmon in 1997 as its first big “sustainable management” success story.

 The organization started by using us as the example for sustainability. We think that’s great, but we shouldn’t be paying fees for them to tell us what we already know. 

Trumping the argument, Begich says,  is the fact that Alaska has sustainability written into its Constitution.

 Name me one other state that has sustainability written into its constitution. At this point we are the example of sustainability.    

    Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. ( In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.