- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Here is a sampling of Alaska editorials:

July 26, 2017

Ketchikan Daily News: What’s in that salmon?

It’s nothing Alaska can let slip away.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski introduced a new bill to require labeling of fake salmon, aka Frankenfish or genetically engineered salmon.

This is a continuing effort to protect Alaska’s wild stock from that of the fake variety.

The Genetically Engineered Salmon Labeling Act, sponsored by Murkowski in cooperation with Washington and Oregon senators, requires genetically engineered salmon be labeled “genetically engineered” or “GE.”

The act also requires that the Food and Drug Administration ensure a third-party, independent scientific review of its environmental assessment of all genetically engineered fish, including salmon, that is intended for human consumption, according to a Murkowski press release.

“The primary purpose of this bill is to ensure that consumers have all the facts and can make an informed decision when they are purchasing salmon,” says Murkowski. “There’s a huge difference between Frankenfish and the wild, healthy, sustainably caught, delicious real thing, and I want to make sure folks are aware of that. I will not accept that this fake fish will be sold in stores without clear labeling.”

Murkowski also notes the risk of fish being created in labs escaping from lab pens at hatcheries and mixing with wild stocks. It would be devastating to wild fish, the states that manage them and the fishermen who harvest them. The lab fish should be evaluated based on the potential for them to contaminate the wild stocks, and every effort made to prevent this from happening.

Murkowski has been joined by Sen. Dan Sullivan in this effort of protecting Alaska’s wild salmon and educating the public about the inferiority of farmed fish.

It’s an effort supported by most Alaskans. We like our salmon wild, and we want to protect the vital fishing industry in Alaska.

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July 24, 2017

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Sikuliaq finishes Arctic voyage

The University of Alaska Fairbanks’ state-of-the-art research vessel Sikuliaq is already proving its worth. The vessel recently completed a 20-day research excursion in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas gathering valuable information about marine life and changes in the Arctic. Aboard the vessel were a host of scientists and graduate students, with good representation from UAF’s College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.

The Sikuliaq, completed in 2014, is just coming into its own as a full-fledged research vessel. Its name means “young sea ice” in Iñupiaq, and some of the research performed on the most recent tour of duty was on that very topic. Some of the researchers on board were investigating the effects of climate-based diminishment of sea ice cover. It’s a topic that has particular importance for some of Alaska’s most famous species of what scientists refer to as “charismatic megafauna,” such as walruses and polar bears. These animals ordinarily travel on sea ice; as less and less is available, they are forced on shore to places they don’t ordinarily spend as much of their time.

How these changes affect the big animals - as well as smaller plants and animals below them in the Arctic food chain - is rife with questions for which the scientists aboard Sikuliaq are trying to find answers. What they discover may help us figure out what, if anything, we need to do to ensure Alaska remains a place where Arctic species can thrive.

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