How to catch an Aleutia sockeye salmon? Very, very carefully.

Strong Alaska sockeye forecasts have salmon harvesters across the state looking forward to a blockbuster season.

 

But for Aleutia, a remote salmon fishery that opens June 7, this year’s robust harvest outlook is just part of the equation. Here on the Eastern Aleutian Islands and Western Peninsula, unique fishing methods make the quality of the catch—even more than the quantity—matter most.

 

“The easiest way to fish and make money is to get as much salmon on board as fast as possible and that’s the way it’s always been done,” said Aleutia President and salmon harvester Duane Kapp. “Eleven years ago we asked ourselves why? We decided to try fishing for quality instead of quantity.  We changed the whole idea behind fishing and found a way to bring the freshest tasting salmon to the market.”

 

By slowing down, paying particular attention to every individual wild sockeye that crossed their nets, icing the fish immediately, and carefully monitoring catch and hold temperatures, the group turned the traditional derby-style salmon fishery model on its head.

 

“Our harvest methods are natural and ecologically healthy,” said Kapp. “It’s definitely more work, but even we were surprised by how much better a salmon can taste when it’s harvested with respect for the species, respect for the environment and with the upmost care.”

 

Buyers agree. The Aleutia sockeye harvest sells quickly each year and retailers often wait list to carry the catch. Expect to see it this year at Town and Country Markets in the Pacific Northwest and select Whole Foods Markets around the country.

 

Aleutia

Aleutia is a wild sockeye salmon fishery located around Alaska’s remote Eastern Aleutian Islands and Western Alaska. It is primarily a setnet fishery harvested by families who have fished in this remote region for generations. Aleutia is a non-profit organization and all profits roll back into the communities it serves.