Alaska/Pacific Coast

Fish, game boards take testimony on cuts
KDLG by Molly Dischner – December 16, 2015
Public says cuts shouldn’t impede access to fish, game rule-making.
Bristol Bay fishermen participated in the Board of Fisheries’ triennial Bristol Bay finfish meeting in Anchorage in early December, but one possible budget cut could result in meetings less frequently.

Senators Secure Name Change for Alaska Pollock to ‘Pollock’ in Omnibus Budget Bill
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by John Sackton – December 16, 2015
After more than two years of effort to unsucessfully get the FDA to change the labeling of Alaska pollock to ‘pollock’, Washington Senator Maria Cantwell announced that the bipartisan bill, supported by the Alaska and Washington Congressional delegations, will be included in the Omnibus budget bill expected to be passed to fund the government within a few days.

The bill will legally change the acceptable market name of Alaska pollock essentially outlawing Pollock harvested in Russia from being labeled as “Alaskan Pollock” in the supermarket. Representative Jamie Herrera Butler (WA-3) sponsored the bill in the House.

In 2012, 113 million pounds of Russian Pollock—which is less sustainable and often of lower quality than pollock from Alaskan fisheries—was sold to U.S. consumers as “Alaska pollock.”

“Alaskan pollock is one of the most sustainable fisheries in the world,” said Cantwell, a senior member of the Commerce Committee, “And American consumers deserve to know whether they are purchasing this high quality product or a cheap alternative with a misleading label. By changing the acceptable market name to pollock, it will be illegal to label pollock caught in Russia, as Alaskan. Americans will be able to shop with confidence, knowing that they are buying the real thing and not a knock-off.”

The Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP) supports these efforts and have previously cited several reasons for the requested change:

• The use of “Alaska pollock” as an acceptable market name is misleading to consumers;

•“Alaska pollock” is understood by consumers to connote a geographic origin, not a particular kind of food from any geographic origin;

• The use of “Alaska pollock” as an acceptable market name is inconsistent with other similar fish species; and

• U.S. government programs support other efforts to provide accurate information to consumers about the seafood they purchase.

FDA guidelines for labeling strongly discourage use of geographic names when such names are misleading, and do not reflect a true statement of origin.  That is why pollock producers were surprised at the resistance of the FDA to this change and sought assistance from Congress.

With the change in the acceptable market name, pollock produced by US companies in the Bering Sea will be able to be labeled ‘Alaska pollock’ because it reflects its true geographic origin, while pollock produced elsewhere that is not from Alaska for example, will be labeled ‘pollock’, product of Russia.


InstantLabs Launches Two Additional Salmon ID Tests; Chinook, Sockeye Test Kits Now Available by InstantLabs
Perishable News – December 14, 2015
Baltimore, MD – InstantLabs is adding two additional salmon identification tests to continue the expansion of the company’s growing product line of food safety and seafood fraud prevention tools.

Swim record: Ray Hilborn and the Alaska Salmon Program
The University of Washington By Hannah Gilman – December 16, 2015
Ray Hilborn watched with satisfaction last summer as the near-record sockeye salmon run he and his UW colleagues had forecasted finally flooded from Bristol Bay up through the lakes and creeks of southwest Alaska. Their prediction? Forty-nine million sockeye—up more than 50 percent from the average of 32 million. When the season started slowly Hilborn got antsy, recalling the 1995 run, in which “there was nothing, nothing, nothing and people started to despair,” says the aquatic and fishery sciences professor. “Then, boom! They showed up [58 million of them]—just a little bit late.”

Labeling and Marketing

Public to FDA: Just Say No to GMO Voluntary Labeling
Huffington Post by Elizabeth Glass Geltman – December 11, 2015
There has been a lot of press coverage this week about the FDA decision to approve the sale of genetically engineered (GE) salmon. Opponents of the FDA ruling describe AquaBounty Technologies’ AquAdvantage Salmon, as “frankenfish.” AquAdvantage Salmon is created by splicing genes from Chinook salmon and those of ocean pout. The result is a fish that will grow faster than non-genetically engineered farm-raised Atlantic salmon.

Federal Register

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; North Pacific Halibut and Sablefish Individual Fishing Quota Cost Recovery Programs
A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 12/16/2015
NMFS publishes individual fishing quota (IFQ) standard prices and fee percentage for cost recovery for the IFQ Program for the halibut and sablefish fisheries of the North Pacific (IFQ Program). The fee percentage for 2015 is 3.0 percent. This action is intended to provide holders of halibut and sablefish IFQ permits with the 2015 standard prices and fee percentage to calculate the required payment for IFQ cost recovery fees due by January 31, 2016.


ASMI Photo Contest 2016: 1st Place Photos.
ASMI – December 15, 2015
The winners are in! Take a look at this photo album to see the images that took home the top prizes in this year’s Alaska photo contest! And look at the round up of the other top finishing photos in each category on our website here.

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
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Phone: 206.281.1667
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December 16, 2015