In an occasionally tense questioning of the National Park Service Director today, Senator Lisa Murkowski convinced him in his public comments to revise the agencies guidelines and take steps to allow wild Alaskan salmon and other wild Alaska seafood back on the concession stands of national parks nationwide.
Two weeks ago, Senator Murkowski originally called attention to her problems with the National Park Service's flawed June decision to require high priced eco-endorsements from outside interests before selling wild Alaskan salmon at parks nationwide, with the risk that Alaska's world-renowned fish would be excluded.
Some apparent good news appeared earlier this week when a news site reported the NPS had reconsidered its decision, but nobody within the NPS would confirm this to the Senator. With NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis testifying before the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Senator Murkowski seized the opportunity to clear up the confusion.
At first, the Director pointed out that their guidelines were not policies or laws, but mere recommendations to their concessionaires that fish deemed sustainable by the controversial Marine Stewardship Council be sold. Murkowski continued on with her questioning, asking him about the NPS' procedures, the conflicting statements being circulated and why they were reliant on a London-based organization -- ending with "it doesn't sound like you are pulling back on this."
He responded "What I am willing to do is to change the guidelines so it includes Alaska wild caught fish. I think that's the simple fix here." The guidelines were drawn broadly to give some guidance to our concessioners. We want a park visit to be a healthy experience. The food was the key component. And you have extraordinary food in Alaska."
Murkowski then said that she wanted to have further discussions with Director Jarvis, to lay out the many harmful and unnecessary impacts this has on Alaskan fisheries, ending by saying "I will take second fiddle to nobody on this." NPS Director Jarvis has scheduled a meeting with Murkowski to follow-up on the matter.