- N.C. math whiz to unveil secret of March Madness picks
- An appealing offer: Chiquita merges with Fyffes to make world’s largest banana firm
- Amnesty International says Syria guilty of war crimes for food blockade
- Mitch McConnell on beating tea party: ‘We are going to crush them’
- Adam Lanza’s dad: He would’ve killed me ‘in a heartbeat’
- North Korea holds election: 100% turnout, Kim Jong-un gets — 100% of vote
- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
Sen. Murkowski questions China’s shellfish ban
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) - Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski questioned this week whether the Chinese ban on shellfish from Alaska and the Pacific Northwest might be about more than safety.
“Yes, it’s a concern about safety,” the senator said while visiting Ketchikan on Thursday. “But it does cause you to wonder if there are other issues that are at play here with China, and how appropriate levels of intervention might be.”
Murkowski said it’s important the federal government follow through on the issue, noting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is sending a delegation to China in the coming weeks to discuss the ban and shellfish harvesting in the United States, The Ketchikan Daily News reported.
China banned the import of oysters, clams, mussels and scallops from Alaska and the Pacific Northwest in December. The Chinese government said it discovered paralytic shellfish poisoning in geoducks harvested in the Middle Gravina Island area of southeast Alaska and high levels of arsenic in geoducks from Puget Sound in Washington state.
The Middle Gravina Island harvest area is a stretch of about 2 miles on the west side of Gravina Island. Other Gravina Island geoduck-harvest areas include Vallenar Bay, Nehenta Bay and South Gravina, with each area sharing similar harvest quotas.
Earlier this month, federal officials requested the Chinese ban on shellfish imports from the U.S. be limited to two harvest areas - one in southeast Alaska and the other outside of Seattle.
The Southeast Alaska Regional Dive Fisheries Association received word this week that the ban wouldn’t be narrowed to specific areas, board President Jeremy Leighton said.
Murkowski met with members of the Southeast Alaska Regional Dive Fisheries Association while in Ketchikan.
Technically, the divers can fish for geoduck. But the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation requested activity be put on hold while the situation with China is resolved and Ketchikan divers have complied, Leighton said.
“(We’re) really hopeful,” Leighton said. “This is the first real politician, or someone higher up in the government, that we’ve been able to reach. I’m guessing here in the next week we’ll start getting some feedback.”
Meanwhile, Washington state’s shellfish seems to be weathering the Chinese ban, with exports of geoducks being shipped to Hong Kong and Vietnam.
Information from: Ketchikan (Alaska) Daily News, http://www.ketchikandailynews.com
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Investigators puzzle: How does a 777 jetliner just disappear into thin air?
- Russia besieges Crimea as U.S. seeks diplomacy; Putin remains undeterred by Obama's sanctions
- As Crimea falls, Obama takes Key Largo golf vacation, Biden hits Virgin Islands
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- CURL: Today's GOP really is Reagan's 'Big Tent' party
- Adam Lanza's dad: He would've killed me 'in a heartbeat'
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again