Responsible Salmon Buying
Feb 18, 2009
Let seafood buyers know you want healthy, fresh-caught salmon from sustainable fishing communities in rural Alaska!
By being good to yourself you can help us help ourselves. When was the last time you had a deal like that??
In all areas of Western Alaska our main income is from the salmon we harvest. Here are some suggestions to remember when purchasing fish for your family that will help our families too.
1 – Eat wild Alaskan salmon, often and in any form! Despite the issues some of us are having right now, our salmon runs are strong and managed for sustainability. It is in our state constitution and has been since statehood in 1959. We are the best in the world at doing this. Don’t believe me?? Look it up!
2 – There are five kinds of Pacific wild salmon. all are good! Chinook/King, Sockeye/Red, Coho/Silver, Chum/Keta or Dog, and Humpy/Pink. Keta (pronounced with a long e) is the new name for dog salmon (Chum).
A few things to remember when buying:
• If it is Atlantic salmon, it is farmed and most likely imported.
• If it is organic salmon, it is farmed and imported. The USDA does not allowed for the domestic labeling of organic salmon in the US.
3 – If you want to help Western Alaska villages and fishermen, buy fish in any of the following:
On a budget – Purchase canned salmon, especially Sockeye. Bristol Bay is the world’s capital for Sockeye salmon and a vast majority of our Western Alaskan harvest goes into cans. Skinless, boneless salmon of any type is a likely to be processed in Western Alaska. Pink salmon in the can is common, which is still good. Pink salmon is a Southeast Alaska fishery.
Still looking for a good deal – Ask for fresh Chum (Keta/Dog) and specifically from the Yukon. They produce a great Omega 3 rich fish that is slowly gaining a foot hold in markets. Ask your grocery store fish counters for it early and often — they become available in July/August. By educating your friends and neighbors about these varieties and creating a vocal demand, you let seafood buyers know they need to meet demand for Chum and Keta when the season begins. Then buy it when it comes into season. It is reasonable in cost and has a rich nutty flavor.
The YK Delta (Yukon area) has a strong Chinook/King market. Fishermen are not offered as much money for the more plentiful Chums, due to low demand. If seafood buyers see an increased demand for Chums and purchase more, Western Alaskan fisherman will reap the benefits. The runs of these fish are strong and can open a second market, in addition to the Chinook/Kings, and will lead to more profitability.
Also look for Sockeye salmon – Demand for Sockeye benefits the rural fishermen in the Bristol Bay region. You can tell Sockeyes by their bright red color, the darkest for salmon. Their season is end of June through July. Again, ask early and often!
Co-op shoppers - If you shop at a co-op, ask your buyer to please carry seafood products purchased from Alaskan fisherman and co-ops. We have only a few co-ops (fishermen owned) but more are starting up and they need all the support we can offer!
Lastly – Support Alaskan owned fish companies. Most are small; many are fishermen owned and return more to fishermen. Look for Alaska salmon gifts on websites and in stores. Read labels carefully. Many commercially owned companies are based out of state.
Your positive Wild Alaskan Salmon purchases help us help ourselves.
Not sure how to cook it? Visit the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute site at http://www.alaskaseafood.org/ and learn more!!