‘Wild USA Seafood’: a new bill calls for creation of new label

Introduced by Alaska Senators Murkowski and Sullivan, the bill would label U.S.-caught fish and shellfish and support U.S. fishermen.
A new bill calls for the creation of a new label, 'Wild USA Seafood' to label U.S.-caught fish and shellfish and support U.S. fishermen. Photo: Adobe Stock.
A new bill calls for the creation of a new label, 'Wild USA Seafood' to label U.S.-caught fish and shellfish and support U.S. fishermen. Photo: Adobe Stock.

Alaska U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, both Republicans, introduced the Wild USA Seafood Act of 2023 late last week. That bill would establish a 'Wild USA Seafood' label for seafood caught in U.S. waters. The goal is to establish a label that would allow the U.S. fishing industry to promote wild-caught seafood products, including fish, crustaceans, and aquatic plants harvested in U.S. waters.

Seafood harvested by American fishermen

"Alaska's seafood is the best in the world—and I'm proud to lead on this effort that would ensure consumers know their food is being harvested by hardworking American fishermen," said Senator Lisa Murkowski as she presented the bill.

"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," she continued.

Along with Senator Murkowski, Alaska Republican Senator Dan Sullivan, also a Republican, also pushed for the bill. "I join Alaskans in being incredibly proud of our sustainable fisheries and the seafood produced in the waters of the United States," he stated.

"Americans love Alaska seafood and other wild seafood products that come from America's waters," he continued.  "They know that there is no better source for the best tasting, and most nutritious seafood. But it can be hard to know where such food comes from. American deserve to have this information, and a labelling standard for 'Wild USA Seafood' will help them choose the best seafood products in the world."

'Product of USA' & 'wild-caught'

In a recent interview with Craig Morris, CEO of the Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP), he told WeAreAquaculture something alike. "The fish has many attributes but what we found is that there's five that really resonate with consumers", he said. It's always wild-caught. It's always from Alaska. It has a strong nutritional proposition. It has a mild taste, which makes it versatile and easy to go into a lot of different cuisines. And then finally, what GAPP CEO defined as an "unmatched" sustainability story.

"If you list out those five attributes, wild-caught, Alaska, nutrition, mild taste, and sustainability, there's really only one fish in the world of our scale that checks all five of those boxes," Morrris noted then.

Now, in introducing this new bill, Greg Smith, Communications Director at the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) makes a very similar argument. "Our research tells us that 'product of USA' and 'wild-caught' are two of the top five US consumer motivations for choosing seafood over other proteins," he said.

"Wild-caught Alaska and other USA seafood is the gold standard for sustainable management, and American fishermen, processors, retailers, and consumers will benefit when the US origin of our seafood products is on the label regardless of where processing occurs," ASMI Director concluded.

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