Murkowski Works to Support Alaska’s Fisheries and Critical Nutrition Programs

The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Fiscal Year 2017 appropriations bill, sending it to the full Senate for consideration. The bill contains a number of priorities U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) secured for Alaska, including provisions that will both protect American consumers and support Alaska’s vital fishing industry. These provisions include a labeling mandate for genetically engineered (GE) salmon, recommendations for nutritional advice on seafood, assistance for Alaska’s farmers, and support for critical food assistance programs.

“Genetically engineered salmon pose a serious threat to the livelihoods of fishermen and the health and well-being of Americans across the nation. Alaska is known around the world for our sustainably-caught, wild, delicious seafood. Requiring labeling of genetically engineered salmon helps us to maintain Alaska’s gold-standard reputation for years to come, and protects consumers,” said Murkowski. “I thank my colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Committee for recognizing the importance of making sure people know what they are buying for their dinner table. I am certainly not going to serve it to my family, because I don’t think we should experiment with food safety and food security.”

GE Salmon: After the FDA’s decision last year to approve GE salmon for human consumption, Senator Murkowski promised to fight back for the health of both consumers and Alaska’s fisheries. Murkowski successfully included a provision in the Agriculture appropriations bill that requires the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to mandate labeling of GE salmon.

Click here for audio of Senator Murkowski discussing her GE salmon labeling amendment. Amendment is attached. 

Seafood Advice: Murkowski secured language which directs the FDA to ensure that pregnant and nursing women receive consistent and understandable nutrition advice on what seafood is safe and healthy to consume that is based on the FDA’s latest scientific review of the net effects of seafood consumption.

WIC Salmon: Senator Murkowski included language that encourages the Food and Drug Administration to research and report whether fish species shown to be nutritious and low in mercury (especially wild Alaska salmon) should be included in WIC Food Packages that serve children age 1 to 4 years and pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women.

Golden King Crab Nomenclature: Senator Murkowski secured language to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to update the FDA’s seafood list to change the acceptable market name of Brown King Crab to “Golden King Crab”.

Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions: Funded at $3.2 million to help these institutions improve and expand their ability to prepare graduates for the food and agricultural sciences and to research effects of climate change invasive species and pests in agricultural settings.

Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (1994 Institutions): Funded at $4.4 million to help institutions prepare students to contribute to and strengthen their communities

Agricultural Research Service (ARS): Senator Murkowski secured language to encourage the USDA Agricultural Research Service to assist universities, in states like Alaska without ARS facilities, address local priorities, such as invasive species that damage crops and aquaculture and to help small farmers increase food security and expand their markets.

Food and Nutritional Services:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): $79.6 billion
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations: $151.9 million
  • Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infant, and Children (WIC): $6.3 billion
  • The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) Storage and Distribution: $59.4 million
  • Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP): $236.1 million to help low income elderly individuals by supplementing their diets with nutritious USDA foods.
  • Section 32 Funds: A transfer of $20.7 million to purchase commodities from producers affected by adverse market conditions and donate them to schools, food banks, and food pantries.
  • Reimbursement Transportation Cost Payment for Geographically Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers: $1.9 million
  • Child Nutrition Programs:
    • National School Lunch Program: $12.7 billion
    • School Breakfast Program: $4.4 billion
    • Child and Adult Care Food Program: $3.4 billion
    • Summer Food Service Program: $628.4 million
    • Farm to School Program: $4.1 million 
    • School Nutrition Equipment Grant: $30 million

Related Issues: Alaska's Fisheries