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US Congress Changes Market Name of the Nation’s Largest Fishery

04 January 2016

US - Seafood consumers in the US gained more certainty about the source of the seafood they buy as part of a bill that the US Congress passed and President Obama signed on Friday 18 December.

The law, which currently only applies to the USA, requires that the geographic descriptor “Alaska” be used only on pollock harvested from the state of Alaska changing the market name of the nation’s largest fishery from “Alaska pollock” to “pollock”.

The new law corrects decades of consumer and market confusion over the use of the market name “Alaska pollock” on the species Gadus chalcogrammus regardless of its origin.

Before the law was enacted, pollock from both Russia and Alaska were sold in under the name “Alaska pollock,” making it impossible for consumers to determine product origin and to make a choice between the two sources.

Alaska pollock is the?eighth most consumed fish in the United Kingdom being a favourite for children in the form of fish fingers, with some 15,000 tonnes being used annually in the UK Russian pollock,?which has a different quality profile can be sold in the UK as “Alaska Pollock.”

Look for the term Alaska pollock, fishing area 67 or the ASMI logo to verify if pollock really comes from Alaska.?

Jon Harman, Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute said: “This name change is an encouraging progression towards transparent labelling which gives more control to both the consumer and the producer. We are supporting the campaign for changes to EU labelling, which we believe will strengthen the position of Alaskan pollock imports and help differentiate this good quality fish.”

Pat Shanahan, Program Director for the Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers, the industry trade association that initiated the name change said: “Our research showed that consumers thought products labeled “Alaska pollock” came from Alaska, and they felt the name was very misleading when applied to Russian pollock.”

“Alaska pollock producers will be moving next to seek changes in EU labelling requirements so that superior quality, sustainably managed Alaska pollock is transparently identified in one our largest export markets,” noted Shanahan.

“Congress’ action helps immeasurably in promoting truth in labelling domestically, now we need to explore our options for overseas consumers who also deserve to know the provenance of their seafood,” concluded Shanahan.

TheFishSite News Desk

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