September 25, 2013
The U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard on Tuesday held a hearing to examine third-party sustainability certification of U.S. seafood and its impact on the seafood options in grocery stores and restaurants.
The hearing also explored ways to make sure current and future sustainability certification efforts can benefit both the seafood industry and consumers.
Chaired by Alaska Senator Mark Begich, the list of panelists included Stefanie Moreland, special assistant at the office of Alaska Governor Sean Parnell; Jeffrey Rice, Walmart’s senior director of sustainability; Michael Montelongo, senior VP for public policy and corporate affairs for Sodexo; and John Connelly, National Fisheries Institute (NFI) president.
“Our goals are shared goals,” said Rice. “To provide delicious and sustainable seafood for years to come.”
NFI’s Connelly said that he and NFI members are confused as to the singular focus of seafood sustainability.
“NOAA’s fisheries management is generally excellent, that’s been a common theme throughout this morning,” he said. “Yet few in government or the public know this.
“The fact the GSA, HHS and the park service developed policies without coordinating with NOAA, it suggests that NOAA is too quiet even within the federal family. This has left other to define what sustainability is and what it’s not,” said Connelly. “Congress should require NOAA to develop an integrated communications strategy that describes in lay terms how the government manages our nation's fisheries resources.