Fish Radio

Begich talks Frankenfish, Climate change

December 9. 2015

Former AK Sen. Mark Begich talks GMO fish, Climate change Credit: Washington Post

Former AK Sen. Mark Begich talks GMO fish, Climate change
Credit: Washington Post

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Mark Begich takes the Frankenfish fight to the stores and talks climate change. More after this —

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Former Alaska Senator Mark Begich is continuing his fight against genetically modified salmon after its federal approval last month for US sales.

 I think it is a very bad decision. When I was in the Senate I was able to stop it from being moved forward  from it being approved.  So I decided I am no different than any other Alaskan and I am concerned about it  so I decided to write a letter to every store chain in Alaska that serves food in major quantities, to ask them not to sell that product.  

Begich, as with millions of Americans, agrees that if stores sell Frankenfish  it should be labeled as GMO fish.

 I want to know when I walk into a store like I can do now when I pick up a box of some product I can read the ingredients and see if it’s organic or not or what kind of preservatives or not are in it – so in this product.  If the people making this test tube fish believe it’s such a good product, they label it and   the consumer will make the decision.  

Begich broadened the discussion of fish threats to North Pacific waters, which are getting warmer and more acidic.  You can’t have sustainable fisheries, he says, without sustainable waters.

 If we don’t have sustainable ecosystems, or in this case, sustainable water systems, the net result is everything that lives or thrives on it or uses it will be at risk.  

Alaska’s current delegation has voted against every clean air, clean water and climate change measure that has come before Congress. Begich says it’s time to accept reality:

Climate change is real and those who continue to deny it live in a world that doesn’t exist. And the fact that Senator Sullivan who ran against me continues to deny it 100% is a mistake.  

I support the oil and gas industry,  but that doesn’t mean you can’t support good, solid scientific based regulations to ensure the health of our waters are protected. And I think that’s the right approach. I think the knee jerk reaction is to just say no to everything because it makes a good bullet statement in a tv ad or a brochure.

Begich says always opting for the negative is no way to govern  –

There is so much we should be focused on in the Alaska resource arena and just being a no voice is not good enough. You should be a yes voice in trying how to figure out how to improve everything from fisheries, oil and gas, all of it for the betterment of Alaskans and this country.

What’s happening in Washington is the race to the negative,   a race to the no, and not a race to let’s get things done for the long term benefit of the people we represent.  //

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.