News & Events
(an excerpt from Avi Friedman’s Salmon Information Booklet)
Every summer, our family travels to our fish site at Ekuk Beach in the Nushagak River District, Bristol Bay, Alaska, to fish commercially for sockeye salmon. We have built a small processing plant on land we own near our fish site, and bring home to Baltimore a portion of our catch to market personally. We catch, process, and sell only wild sockeye, king, silver, and pink salmon that we ourselves have caught at our fish site. There are no fish farms, hatcheries, or artificial enhancement efforts of any kind in Bristol Bay. Iced immediately after being picked out of our net, our salmon are quickly processed, vacuum packed, and flash frozen to 20 degrees below zero, where they will store well for many months.
The fact that our salmon are wild is significant, for several reasons. No farm raised salmon has intrinsic quality that can match that of a properly handled wild salmon. Because we have direct control and responsibility for extrinsic factors including catching, grading, processing, smoking, and marketing of our salmon, our customers can be assured of the highest and most consistent quality. Our salmon are special and select, and are worthy of being served at any important occasion. The differences in color and flavor between wild and farm raised salmon are readily apparent.
There are several issues re farm raised salmon which concern people today. Chemical and medicinal inputs to feed, antibiotics to medicate the growing salmon in their net pens against diseases caused by stress due to crowded conditions, and coloring agent to give the salmon flesh an attractive color which would be absent otherwise, are of increasing concern to people looking for high quality and nourishing food. The siting of net pens is important because intense nutrient loading from salmon waste taxes the ability of the local ecosystem to break down those wastes, creating a dead zone downstream of the net pens. These factors combine to create conditions conducive to the outbreak of disease and the spread of sea lice which can and have affected wild salmon passing by. In several areas of British Columbia, the loss of traditionally fished local wild salmon stocks nearby to net pens has caused social disruption and labor issues in local populations of First Nation peoples, who can no longer subsist on once plentiful wild salmon stocks. There is also the important issue of escapes from the net pens, where farm raised salmon directly compete with wild salmon for food, and potentially spread disease as they come into contact with wild salmon. Farm raised salmon have been documented on the spawning grounds of streams in British Columbia and Alaska, where they may 1) spread disease into wild stocks, 2) displace wild fish, and 3) be responsible for genetic mixing of once-pure native and wild stocks of fish. Finally, wild salmon are not genetically modified by corporations. They are real, from Nature.
Traditionally, most wild salmon have been exported to other countries, historically Japan but now including China, if they were not sold in America as a seasonal treat. As the public has become more aware of the issues surrounding farm raised salmon and foreign exports, some small processors – few of whom are also fishermen like myself – are opting out of traditional markets to the extent possible, and are bringing this high quality American product directly to the American market.
We desire to establish a long-term relationship with all of our customers; if you have a problem with your salmon, we will make any adjustment you desire through the month of August following month of purchase.
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Valley Co-op Stats
as of 6/2/15
Total Number of Members: 628
Volunteering Members: 26
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New Members Since 1/1/15: 140
Total Number of Members on 6/2/14: 176
Members gained since then: 452
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