U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell today announced that her bipartisan bill—which will change the market name of “Alaska pollock” to “pollock”—will be included in the Congressional spending bill, also known as the ‘omnibus.’

The bill will legally change the acceptable market name essentially outlawing Pollock harvested in Russia from being passed off as “Alaskan Pollock” in the supermarket. Representative Jamie Herrera Butler sponsored the bill in the House.

NOAA photo.In 2012, 113 million pounds of Russian Pollock—which is less sustainable and lower quality than pollock from Alaskan fisheries—was sold to U.S. consumers as “Alaska pollock.

“Alaskan pollock is one of the most sustainable fisheries in the world,” said Cantwell, a senior member of the Commerce Committee, “And American consumers deserve to know whether they are purchasing this high-quality product or a cheap alternative with a misleading label. By changing the acceptable market name to pollock, it will be illegal to label pollock caught in Russia, as Alaskan. Americans will be able to shop with confidence, knowing that they are buying the real thing and not a knock-off.”

The Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP) supports these 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.

Samuel Hill is the former associate editor for National Fisherman. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine where he got his start in journalism at the campus’ newspaper, the Free Press. He has also written for the Bangor Daily News, the Outline, Motherboard and other publications about technology and culture.

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