Friday June 30, 2023

Alaska Beacon

A new bill introduced by Alaska’s U.S. senators would set up a new consumer-focused label for wild seafood. It’s among several bills eyed by Congress that could affect fishing in Alaska.

Under the bill introduced last week, there would be a program to voluntarily label qualified products as “Wild USA Seafood,” a tool that Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Dan Sullivan, both Republicans, said would serve consumers who already have a strong preference for those products.

“Consumers want to know where their food comes from—and by creating a specific label allowing wild seafood, like Alaskan salmon caught in Bristol Bay, wild kelp harvested in Southeast, or pollock caught in the Bering Sea, the option to be labeled as ‘Wild USA Seafood,’ we’re ensuring consumers know they are purchasing the highest-quality seafood from the best-managed fisheries in the world.” Murkowski said in a statement.

There have been persistent problems with mislabeled and sometimes even illegal seafood reaching U.S. markets. For salmon from Alaska, where finfish farming is prohibited by state law, mislabeling has been a particular problem. Past investigations by the nonprofit Oceana and others revealed that farm-raised Atlantic salmon is frequently sold incorrectly as wild salmon.

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