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US Fisheries Institute President Testifies on Seafood Procurement

Lucy Towers
30 September 2013, at 1:00am

US - Testifying before the Senate Commerce Committees subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, National Fisheries Institute (NFI) President John Connelly told lawmakers the General Services Administrations (GSA) decision to highlight NOAA Fisheries as the preeminent sustainability authority for seafood procurement is good policy.

The modified GSA policy no longer seeks third party certification for fish harvested from US fisheries.

The rules now, “reflect the preeminent role that NOAA Fisheries should play in government procurement policy for seafood and NFI supports those changes,” said Mr Connelly.

After thanking Alaska Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich, for their leadership on this issue, Connelly noted that other Federal agencies had based their procurement policies on the old GSA guidelines.

Connelly called on the Pentagon to join GSA in explaining its guidelines, “we further urge [the Department of Defense] to make clear that it believes NOAA Fisheries determinations are sufficient documentation of sustainability. The Pentagon should make clear to vendors… that they should not require third party certifications to sell American fish to American sailors, Marines, soldiers, and airmen.”

An insistence that GSA reconsider its initial seafood procurement policy from a number of Senate and House offices was key to spotlighting this issue.