An Emphasis on Quality Seafood

“Joining Seafood Producers Cooperative was the smartest fishing business decision I’ve ever made.” –Charlie Wilber, Seafood Producers Cooperative member

Charlie originally hails from Omaha, Nebraska and came to fishing after being a smoke jumper out of Fairbanks, Alaska, a job he did during summers while being a student in Missoula, Montana. A week on the water with a friend who was a hand troller in Southeast Alaska got him hooked and led Charlie to believe that fishing was easier than jumping out of a plane into fires. “The fact that I survived it all, all the mishaps and adventures, is miraculous.”

“But I learned the hard way,” Charlie says. More than 40 years in Alaska have taught him that making a living fishing is not as easy as it looks. “There is a steep learning curve. Most everything in fishing takes place below the water and you have to be able to read patterns to make educated guesses about what’s happening below the surface.” Charlie took a leap of faith to make a living while fishing in Alaska. “It was fairly painful for a number of years.” In an article with the Sitka Conservation Society, Charlie recalls: “Someone told me once you aren’t really fishing until you have every penny in it, and you owe money. And then you are seriously fishing because failing really isn’t an option at that stage.”

Once Charlie figured out how to catch more fish, he had to learn how to make a living on the water. “I learned the hard way,” he tells us again. Charlie delivered to all kinds of operations thinking he was getting hot prices. In contrast, “with Seafood Producers Cooperative, I am getting what the fish are truly worth. Through the ups and downs of the market, you consistently get the fairest price as a co-op member and the co-op has always been there to support members, whether it be with gear purchases, ice, processing, vessel insurance, and even college scholarships for members’ families.”