Mark Begich Logo

Get Updates:

Alaska Dispatch: Alaska pushes back on ‘sustainable seafood’ label denied by Marine Stewardship Council

But with questions over the group’s rationale — including what Sen. Mark Begich called a “shifting goal post” on the definition of sustainability — and increased costs to buy into the program, many Alaska fisheries have begun switching to another certification program.

That decision had ripple effects. Big buyers such as Wal-Mart, the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of Defense found that their own policies recommended they buy and serve only fish with the MSC “ecolabel.”

On Tuesday, Begich called numerous stakeholders to a U.S. Senate hearing on seafood sustainability certification, hoping to explore ways the future certification efforts could benefit the seafood industry and consumers.

Some change has been coming. This week, the U.S. General Services Administration updated its guidelines to remove the third-party certification as a guideline for purchasing food for federal facilities. Previously, the guidelines recommended that any seafood purchased should have the MSC certification. The change gives agencies such as the National Park Service and Department of Defense more leeway in purchasing seafood.