Last week the CBJ passed a resolution encouraging the sale of wild salmon over farmed. Some believe this action limits the choices of local business owners, but that just isn't true. There is no force of law behind the resolution, and the Assembly has not called for a boycott farmed fish.
What CBJ has done, quite simply, is to support its local seafood industry and recognize Alaska's salmon product as a healthy and sound environmental choice for consumers.
As a representative of the commercial fishing industry, I have an obvious bias toward the sale of wild-caught fish. But, as a citizen of Alaska, I hope that you also care about the success of this important industry. Seafood is second only to oil in its dollar contributions to Alaskan communities - seafood taxes help build roads and schools and harbors. The seafood industry directly employs more Alaskans than any other, and it's likely some of your friends and family are linked to seafood, be it fishing, processing, gear and fuel suppliers, or in related fields like fishery management, research, enforcement or education.
Our association is grateful for the support of the local residents and businesses who buy and sell our product. The local grocery stores regularly highlight a wonderful array of local and regional seafood product and we hope to continue this relationship long into the future.
Will local businesses continue to make independent decisions about which products to offer? Absolutely - that's the beauty of the system. But it's my hope that, armed with some additional information, and a public hungry for the health and ecological benefits of wild salmon, the local fishmongers will work with our industry to overcome any hurdles that exist to providing locally caught seafood year round.
Bravo CBJ, for supporting local business and helping to inform the public!
Alaska Trollers Association