“The Earth is our mother. She nourishes us, that which we put into the ground she returns to us.” -Big Thunder (Bedagi) Wabanaki, Algonquin
At Kenai-Red Fish Company, we believe that the natural products our Earth provides us with deserve to be treated with the utmost respect, which is one of the many reasons we harvest our beautiful, wild Alaskan seafood with highly attentive care. Salmon is a life blood of Alaska, and its role in Alaska’s ecosystems is powerfully irreplaceable. In honor of Earth Day and our salmon share season opening, we would like to provide our members with a deep dive into exactly how we catch our salmon, highlighting our focus on sustainability and passion for preserving Alaska’s awe-inspiring environment.
Catching Wild Sockeye— What is Set-Netting?
Our sockeye salmon is caught in Cook Inlet, AK through a method called set-netting, which consists of casting out a net anchored at shore and anchored out on the water, designed to catch salmon swimming into the net’s size-adjacent holes. The net is then managed by our fishermen in small boats called skiffs (our founder Skiffman’s nick-namesake!) and salmon are hand picked one at a time with care. Since set-netting is more of a land based operation, the fish have a shorter distance to travel to shore to be immediately transported for processing and flash freezing nearby. Our processing time is roughly half of the time it typically takes, keeping our fish pristinely fresh and of the highest quality.
Because our nets are passive nets, meaning they do not get dragged by a boat along the inlet’s floor, they don’t cause damage to the beautiful marine habitat. We make sure there is zero debris from fishing materials left in waters, and our nets are well monitored. Since our nets are set at a precise surface level and region, we are proud to say that we have zero bycatch, meaning we never accidentally catch other species as is common with large scale commercial fishers.
Catching Wild Coho— What is Trolling?
Our coho is caught through a different method in Southeast Alaska, which is known as trolling. Trolling is the official (and kind of funny sounding!) term for what you’ve probably heard of as “hook and line.” Our small boat fishermen catch coho by line one at a time, allowing for the proper attention to clean and care for each individual fish. After a fish is brought aboard, it goes through an immediate process called “pressure bleeding” which replaces blood with fresh sea water. This step is critical in creating the best quality fish, and our skilled fishermen have the process mastered. Fishing hook and line also guarantees zero bycatch due to the targeted nature of the method.
Finally, we would once again like to recognize that we are incredibly proud to harvest in a region that has some of the strictest regulations in the world protecting wild fish. Based on constant monitoring of marine life, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) places tight limits on the days and hours we can fish as well as the number of nets, distance, net size, tensile strength, and more.
We are excited to be incorporating more environmental activism and sustainability elements to our work in the future with the intention to care for our Earth in thanks for all it gives us. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions about our fishing— we love chatting with our members about it! Our team is thrilled to be hitting the skiffs soon to bring you your shares, which are available for order now.
Take care, and get wild! (x)