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Fish Factor

"SOS: U.S. Coast Guard Rescue" New Discovery Channel Series
By Laine Welch


October 17, 2005

Discovery Channel film crews braved crab fishing in the Bering sea with their huge hit series "Deadliest Catch." Now they are taking viewers along with rescue missions by the U.S. Coast Guard - including teams from Kodiak.
jpg Laine Welch

 A new series called "SOS: U.S. Coast Guard Rescue" has just begun which features members of the USCG at work "24/7" all across the country. "We have our crews embedded with the Coast Guard with cameras mounted on helmets, boats and helicopters ­ we use the sound systems onboard to make viewers fell like they are a part of the rescues taking place," said Discovery spokesperson Jill Bondurant.

The film crews captured all parts of the USCG's diverse missions, ranging from  rescues of swimmers and boaters in distress to boardings and border patrols. Bondurant said the ten episode SOS series begins with harrowing rescues following Hurricane Katrina, where victims were plucked from roof tops and windows. Later programs will feature USCG teams and rescue missions from Kodiak operating in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea. "Every region has its own challenges, but the vastness of the area the Coast Guard is protecting based out of Kodiak left us in awe. There's a lot of water out there," Bondurant said.

She added that the Discovery Channel felt very proud to be a part of the Coast Guard series. "We hope that everyone who tunes in gets the same appreciation of what these men and women do every day, and not just in the face of a natural disaster," she said. The "SOS: U.S. Coast Guard Rescue" programs air Tuesday nights on the Discovery Channel.
ASMI EXPANDS MARKET INFO ­ Seafood watchers can now easily track how Alaska seafood is faring at markets in the U.S. and abroad with Newsbrief, a new e-newsletter from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. "We want people to know what we're doing with the revenues we get for seafood marketing. This will tell about promotional and quality assurance activities, and give a heads up about future plans so the industry can stay ahead of the game," said Laura Fleming, ASMI Director of Public Affairs. She added that the Newsbrief came about at the request of the new ASMI board of directors, which includes five processors and two harvesters.

Fleming said the board also directed that the popular Salmon Market Bulletin compiled by the McDowell Group be expanded to include all seafood species of major market significance. It will launch this month as the ASMI Seafood Market Bulletin, and along with salmon, include production and market information, trends and analysis for pollock, halibut, cod, crab, black cod and other species. The more comprehensive coverage should help quell past criticisms that ASMI focuses too much on salmon markets. "The salmon resource now contributes about 25 percent of industry tax revenues. As whitefish has played more of a role in our revenues we need to provide the service and market support for that," Fleming said. This summer ASMI also began offering e-newsletters targeted to the retail and food service sectors.  

The Newsbriefs, Bulletins and other information are free and only available via e-mail and the internet. Sign on at the ASMI home page at .
 SALMON FARMERS LAUNCH MEDIA BLITZ - Salmon farmers have pulled out all stops with a national advertising blitz promoting the health benefits and environmental friendliness of farmed fish. 

Sponsored by Salmon of the Americas, which includes Canada, Chile and the U.S., half page newspaper ads began this week in the New York Times, USA Today, Boston Globe and San Francisco Chronicle. Estimated cost is $250,000 per day, according to  The ads followed an airing of the popular prime time TV show "Boston Legal," which focused on the debate over the impacts of fish farming on wild salmon stocks in British Columbia. The program is said to reach an audience of 15 million people. 

The Salmon of the Americas ad, titled "Ocean Farmed Salmon. Good for You, Good for the Oceans," says farmed salmon is one of the healthiest foods you can eat and tells how the industry is "pioneering ways to help the ocean produce more food than nature can do alone."  It shows a chart boasting that farmed Atlantic salmon have more omega three's than wild salmon, and says consumers have no mercury worries with farmed product. The ad claims salmon farming stands up to rigorous environmental scrutiny and that studies show no negative impacts on wild stocks. It concludes by saying that every farmed fish is tracked from the time it goes into the water until it reaches the shore, guaranteeing the highest quality, purest fish you can buy.

The farmed salmon industry has been badly bashed over the past two years with ongoing major media reports about environmental irresponsibility, and how farmed fish contains colorants, antibiotics, PCBs and other contaminants. The Salmon of the Americas ad campaign is a serious volley at convincing consumers otherwise.  
EAT FISH, STOP MEMORY LOSS ­ Eating fish once a week slows memory loss associated with aging by 10 percent a year, according to a Rush University study of 6,158 elderly Chicagoans. Eating more fish weekly resulted in a slowdown of 13 percent. According to the Chicago Tribune, the six year study showed that those who consumed fish weekly were about three to four years younger mentally than those who seldom ate fish. The researchers said that the findings make sense because fish contain omega three fatty acid, which is an important part of brain cell membranes.  They added that the findings are consistent with other studies showing that eating fish or taking fish oil supplements lowers the risk of heart attack, stroke and Alzheimer's disease. More on the Chicago study is available at the online version of the medical journal Archives of Neurology.


Laine Welch has been covering news of Alaska's seafood industry since 1988. Her Fish Factor column appears weekly in over a dozen papers and websites. Her Fish Radio programs air on 27 stations across Alaska.


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