Alaskans should back salmon standards

Letter to the editor

Posted: Wednesday, May 26, 2004

With all of the recent global upheaval in the salmon markets about consumer awareness of healthy and safe seafood, I am surprised to see that latest buyers and promotions of Alaskan salmon are not including the Alaska Quality Seafood standards. National and international promotions and packaging are using their own, individually developed logos and claims of Alaska wild salmon. These buyers are capitalizing on the use of the name Alaska with empty or varied standards. Our immediate response to the use of the name Alaska around the world is great, but it is not enough.

The problem in using the name Alaska is that it, alone, is not an indication of quality. We have all heard enough stories from buyers recognizing the inconsistencies of product purchased from Alaska. Many of those same buyers have moved to other sources, simply because they require a consistent quality product. The Alaska Quality Seafood certification does just that. It creates a quality standard for Alaska. Without a universally adopted standard that is used, accepted and recognized by all, we diminish all of Alaska's product value in the long-run.

We must not remain complacent on this issue. It is a shame that even the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute that encouraged the adoption of such standards in the Cook Inlet has not posted the Alaska Quality Seafood on its Web site for buyers. Many of us believe it should be.

Independently, I have canvassed those that look into Alaska and have asked what our greatest achievement over the past five years has been in seafood. The consistent response has been the establishment of a quality standard for Alaskan salmon.

Alaskans should be unified to support and defend a quality standard. It is an increased value of our raw resource that reflects directly on Alaska. It is the perfect time when the world is seeking high-quality, healthy sources of food that Alaskans rally to support a high-quality image.

As Alaskans, we should be concerned and mobilized to support Alaska Quality Seafood. Ask your local restaurant, grocer, distributor and producer if there product is Alaska Quality certified.

Robin Richardson


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