Senate committee passes Alaska fisheries funding


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
June 6, 2014

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee passed the Commerce, Justice and Science 2015 funding bill today, which includes a number of provisions that will benefit Alaska’s fishing industry, according to a statement from Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska (pictured).

Now passing to the full senate for final approval, the bill includes funding for the North Pacific Council, the Pacific Salmon Commission and the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission. Among other provisions, the bill includes USD 4 million (EUR 2.9 million) for electronic monitoring for Alaska’s fishing fleet.

Murkowski also said she made sure to add language to the bill that forbids federal agencies from using outside groups to certify fish caught in U.S. waters. The Alaska seafood industry and the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute have a history of repeatedly speaking out against the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Murkowski’s fellow Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, chaired a hearing in September 2013 to discuss the use of third-party certification programs by the U.S. Government. The MSC said it was not invited to speak at the hearing, and criticized it at the time as being unfairly slanted against groups such as the MSC.

Murkowski’s statement this week did not mention the MSC or any other group by name, nor did she condemn the use of third-party certification groups, but she said, “The committee acknowledges that some U.S. fisheries voluntarily utilize third-party seafood sustainability certification schemes but believes it is not the (federal government’s) role to adopt such certification schemes when doing so could result in the (government) arbitrarily influencing the domestic seafood market.”

Among other fishery-related provisions, the bill calls for maintaining funding of USD 30.2 million (EUR 22.2 million) for salmon management activities, and includes USD 72.2 million (EUR 53.1 million) in expanded stock assessments and USD 24.4 million (EUR 17.9 million) for survey and monitoring projects within the fisheries research and management account.

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