Tide may be changing for better for those in wild-salmon industry

Posted: Wednesday, May 14, 2003

The marketing war between Alaska's wild salmon and farm-raised salmon has taken some interesting twists of late.

First, Alaska's Sens. Lisa Murkowksi and Ted Stevens co-authored and pushed through Congress a bill allowing Alaska salmon and other wild-caught marine products to be labeled as organic'' foods.

President Bush signed the bill last month, giving Alaska's most important seafood product access to a marketing tool previously available only to pen-raised fish.

Now, a Seattle law firm has announced it is suing the nation's three largest grocery chains in hopes of forcing them to disclose to shoppers that the pink color of farmed fish flesh comes from artificial coloring.

The lawsuit is being filed against Kroger Co., Safeway and Albertsons. It notes that the flesh of farmed salmon is naturally grayish and the fish are given special feed to change the color to a more desirable shade.

Pink sells salmon,'' said lawyer Paul Kampmeier. To artificially color salmon without giving that information to consumers, we believe that's unfair and deceptive, and it's also against federal law.''

Raising fish in pens may be one way to provide salmon to a larger market, but Alaska's wild salmon taste better and get their coloring the hard way by eating natural foods. Those two facts are vitally important considerations and consumers need to understand them.

Alaska's wild-salmon industry has taken a painful beating from the farmed-salmon competition in recent years. But the tide of the marketing war may be changing.

The Voice of the (Anchorage) Times

May 7

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