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May is an extraordinary month in Ketchikan. We transform overnight from a quiet town in April to become host to thousands of visitors each day by mid-May. Local waters see commercial troll fishermen take advantage of spring fishery opportunities while the commercial net fleets begin preparing for their season. Sport anglers are readying their gear for the May 28 start of the Ketchikan CHARR Educational Fund King Salmon Derby.

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State agencies and the University of Alaska spent $343 million outside of Alaska for goods and services for government operations in 2015.

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Ginny Gisse, 69, died April 5, 2016, at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
5/23/2014
Label Frankenfish

Frankenfish shouldn't be approved by the FDA, but, if the administration is bull-headed about it, it should require labeling to alert the consuming public.

The Senate Appropriations Committee OK'd a Sen. Lisa Murkowski amendment that would require the labeling; it will be included in the Senate version of the 2015 Department of Agriculture spending bill.

Murkowski, like most Alaskans, is opposed to introducing genetically engineered salmon into the nation's food supply.

"Why would we be messing with Mother Nature like this?" Murkowski asked her Senate colleagues before the vote on the amendment. "Why would we put so much at risk? Why would we invent a species that will outgrow our healthy natural stocks? This Frankenfish experiment puts at risk the health of our fisheries not only in Alaska, but our fisheries nationwide. I don't even think we should call this science experiment a salmon at all."

That sums it up. Frankenfish put Alaska's wild fish stocks at risk. Once genetically engineered fish breed with the wild, it won't be possible to return to the pre-Frankenfish quality. The wild stocks would be contaminated forever, and pure, natural salmon would be a memory.

The wildly successful salmon industry would experience the repercussions. As would Alaska.

Alaskans oppose the FDA approval of Frankenfish, but if it proceeds that way, then Murkowski hopes to require that the administration label it accurately, letting the consumers make their choice between engineered salmon or wild salmon.

That's not the safety net Alaskans prefer, but it is more than nothing.