Murkowski Defending Alaska-Caught Pollock Against Inferior Russian Product

Senator Pursues Answers on Pollock Labeling Policy

Senator Lisa Murkowski today reached out to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reasserting her push to change the legal market name of Alaska-caught pollock simply to “pollock.” The change would allow Alaskan-caught pollock to be differentiated by region and better distinguish the fish harvested in Alaskan waters from inferior Russian pollock passing itself off as “Alaskan pollock” in stores nationwide.

Currently, Russian-caught pollock is capitalizing on Alaska’s world-famous reputation for pure, sustainable fish by misleading consumers. Murkowski believes the labeling move is necessary because Alaska’s fisheries are far more rigorously managed than Russian waters, and therefore much higher quality.

In her letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg (attached), Murkowski writes:

“As I have previously stressed, this change in nomenclature is necessary to minimize consumer confusion and avoid ongoing misrepresentation of the origin of pollock that is purchased and consumed in the United States. This problem has been compounded by the large volume of Russian-harvested pollock, 113 million pounds in 2012, that is sold to U.S. consumers as ‘Alaska pollock.’”

The Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP) support Murkowski’s efforts and have previously cited several reasons for the requested change:

  • The use of “Alaska pollock” as an acceptable market name is misleading to consumers;
  • “Alaska pollock” is understood by consumers to connote a geographic origin, not a particular kind of food from any geographic origin;
  • The use of “Alaska pollock” as an acceptable market name is inconsistent with other similar fish species; and
  • U.S. government programs support other efforts to provide accurate information to consumers about the seafood they purchase.