Level the fishing field

Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2003

Any of us who have purchased mandarin oranges (tangerines) have probably noticed on the box a note saying they can't be sold in certain states and/or territories of the United States. I guess the reason for this is those states and territories grow similar products and don't want the competition. Obviously, there are precedents for this kind of action. Some time ago our Legislature passed a law that no farmed salmon could be grown in this state. There were all kinds of reasons for this but I'm sure the real reason was that Alaska fisherman did not want to compete with Alaska farmed salmon.

Whether that was a smart move to make, I will not argue but it was probably thought reasonable at the time. It seems to me, however, that if Alaska is going to continue with this law the state also should pass a law that farmed salmon from other states or countries cannot be sold in Alaska. Also, pressure should be placed on the federal government to stop the import into the U.S. of farm-grown salmon from foreign countries.

Why should the price of salmon be dictated by a foreign salmon farming industry competing directly with wild salmon grown in Alaska? Why should stores like COSTCO be allowed to sell out-of-state farm-grown salmon? It seems reasonable that one of Alaska's main industries should and must be protected if it is to continue. Otherwise, we need to get rid of the Alaska salmon farming law and start doing it ourselves.

Jack Marshall


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