Senate puts final approval on denouncing Frankenfish
The Alaska Senate on Monday unanimously passed a resolution denouncing the recent approval of a Massachusetts company’s approval to sell genetically engineered salmon.
Critics derisively call it Frankenfish.
Even as resolutions are non-binding, they often represent a unified voice on a concern lawmakers want sent to Washington D.C.
The passage of these bills are often timed with a visit from one of Alaska’s Congressional delegation, and on Thursday, Lisa Murkowski (R) will address the Legislature.
State lawmakers, congressional delegates and fisheries groups have long been worried about how genetically engineered fish would jeopardize the commercial, sport and subsistence fishing.
“Without proper labeling, consumers may be purchasing this genetically engineered salmon not knowing that it’s not our wonderful Alaska salmon,” said Sen. Cathy Giessel (R-Anchorage) on the Senate floor Monday.
“In addition, there is concern about the GE salmon infesting and tainting our wild stocks,” she said. “We don’t know if that can happen. The general thought is this genetically engineered salmon cannot reproduce, but we don’t know that for sure and don’t want to take the risk.”
Last year, Murkowski introduced the Genetically Engineered Salmon Labelling Act. It requires companies to place a label indicating if the salmon is genetically engineered. It also calls for reviewing the FDA’s environmental assessment for all genetically engineered fin-fish.
“We have invested a lot, the State of Alaska, in branding seafood from Alaska as wild, fresh, sustainably harvested,” said Senate Minority Leader Berta Gardner (D-Anchorage). “We lose out if farmed fish is inadvertently contaminating our wild supplies. We produce the highest quality of wild seafood in the world.
“We have exports valued at over $3 billion a year. The fisheries is [sic] Alaska’s largest private sector employer, and I think we owe everything we can throw at protecting that industry-- and this is a good start.”
House Joint Resolution 12 must next be sent to Gov. Bill Walker’s desk for his signature.
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