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Refusing Alaska's Fish, Sodexo USA Says No to Wild Salmon

August 20, 2013|By Corey Allen-Young | Channel 2 News

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska's wild salmon is in the spotlight again after a major federal contractor decided not to serve it because of how it’s certified.   

Sodexo USA, which contracts food service programs to several federal agencies including the Department of Defense, will now only buy seafood certified by the Marine Stewardship Council.  

It's an organization that has regulated sustainable fishing standards around the world. 

This is the second time this summer an issue over the certification of Alaska's salmon, that's not labeled as sustainable. Earlier this summer, Walmart did the exact same thing by refusing to buy anything that didn't have the MSC label.   

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute says because of shifting standards in that program, Alaska's fisheries dropped out of that certification in favor of the Responsible Fishery Management certification system that analyzes each of Alaska's rivers separately.    

ASMI's executive director Michael Cerne says there is frustration over what's going on because the state's focus has always been on creating a pristine and sustainable environment.    

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"It's been frustrating, nobody is really arguing against the management of the fishery, everybody is realizing including the MSC that it’s one of best managed fisheries in the world and the vast majority of customers are still continuing to buy it," Cerne said.

"We've proudly sourced salmon from the state of Alaska for many years,” Walmart said in a statement. “We want to continue to source quality seafood from Alaska for years to come while also ensuring sustainable seafood is available to future generations. That's why we have been and will continue to be engaged in open and transparent dialogue with Alaska fisheries, suppliers, NGOs, industry experts and government to push everyone toward a solution."

Calls for a response from Sodexo USA were not returned. 

On Aug. 16, Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) sent a letter to Sodexo's president asking him to include Alaska's salmon as part of their purchases. 

Contact Corey Allen-Young

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