Alaska’s seafood industry is getting caught in the middle of a power struggle between Russia and western nations.
Ever since Russia seized part of Ukraine this winter, sanctions against it have been stacking up. Now, Russia’s fighting back by banning food imports from the United States and a handful of other countries.
Alaska shipped almost $9 million worth of pollock to Russia last year. Some of it went to fast food chains, including McDonald’s. A significant chunk of it is used for making surimi — better known as fake crab.
At least one shipment of surimi was on its way to Russia when the ban came out on Thursday. Undercurrent News reports that the fish could get diverted to South Korea or another eastern market.
That’s got some American fishing advocates fired up. A former U.S. Congressman has started the “Just Say Nyet” campaign, seeking a corresponding ban on Russian fish coming into the States.
But it’s slow going: As of Friday afternoon, his petition to the federal government had only gathered 18 signatures.
- Heli-skiing has long been a controversial topic in Haines. The interests of the industry often clash with people who live near heliports and don’t want the noise disturbing their peace and quiet. But there’s another group that’s impacted by helicopter noise: mountain goats.
- In the Northwest Arctic, caribou hunting has been contentious for years. Alaska’s largest herd continues to decline while tensions have emerged between rural subsistence users and outside hunters.
- From the Aleutian island of Akutan to the arctic village of Kiana, 13 communities have been crowned champions of a rural energy competition. The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced that it will help these communities cut their energy use by 15 percent by training local utility providers.
- It’s costing 14 percent more to take the ferry to and from the Lower 48. The higher fare is part of another round of tariff increases aimed at boosting income and equalizing rates across all routes.