Lockwood again lobbies for organic aquaculture standards
Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Long time organic aquaculture advocate, George Lockwood, has written to the United States Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, on behalf of the National Organic Aquaculture Work Group (NOAWG) to again plead the case for the government to set in place organic aquaculture standards. Lockwood chaired the 12-member NOAWG committee when it was formed in 2005, following the establishment of the Organic Foods Production Act five years earlier.
In his letter, Lockwood notes the diligent work of AWG with NOSB between early 2005 and late 2010 when NOSB submitted their recommendations to the National Organic Program; delays within NOP from 2010 through 2016 in developing a proposed final rule that required OMB approval; once approved by OMB, the decision by AMS in January 2017 to not publish the proposed rule before the change in administration, and finally, the decision by USDA during the Trump administration to not advance establishing a new rule.
“In the meantime, foreign-produced fish and shellfish with organic labels are being sold by retailer grocery stores in the U.S. with certification under EU, Canadian and other foreign standards, or in some cases, without compliance with any recognized standards. American consumers are being misled and American farmers are deprived of these sales at premium prices,” he argues.
Vilsack was confirmed as the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture by the Biden administration in February, taking up his old job where he served for eight years under President Barack Obama between 2009-2017.
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