New legislation for Alaskan sustainability

19 Sep 2013
Senator Lisa Murkowski

Senator Lisa Murkowski

Senator Lisa Murkowski has introduced legislation to combat the influence of outside certification parties on Alaska’s sustainable seafood industry.

Her Responsible Seafood Certification and Labeling Act would prohibit any federal agencies from using third party non-governmental certification schemes when considering or labelling any domestic catch as ‘sustainable'.

Recently, the National Park Service’s guidelines referenced the Marine Stewardship Council in defining whether Alaskan salmon is sustainable. But as the industry discontinued its contract with the MSC back in 2012, Senator Murkowski encouraged the National Park Service to reverse course.

“It is bad federal policy to allow third party certifiers, including foreign Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), to decide what seafood is allowed to be sold in National Parks, or procured by federal agencies,” said Sen Murkowski. “Not too long ago, wild Alaska salmon served as the flagship species for MSC. Now MSC is disparaging the “sustainability” of Alaska salmon. MSC and NGOs like them have political agendas, lack transparency, and use their certification schemes to inappropriately influence federal and state fisheries management.”

The prohibition will apply to any federal agency’s purchase of fish or seafood, the sale of fish or seafood by a vendor or lessee on federal land or property, and any reference to a seafood sustainability standard developed by a third party non-governmental organisation in any regulation, policy or guideline.