As a quality-oriented, customer-driven fishermen’s cooperative, we are constantly working to not only keep up with but go above and beyond sustainability and food safety certification trends in the industry to ensure our customers that they are getting the best product available on the market.
Recently, Yvon Chouinard, founder of clothing company Patagonia, noted that the word “sustainable,” much like the word “gourmet,” has become cliché and doesn’t mean much anymore. It’s impossible not to recognize that, as fishermen harvesting fish from the ocean, we are having an impact whether we’d like to or not. What our fishermen’s co-op offers, though, is respect for what we catch that comes from time-honored traditional methods of fishing that minimize impact on the ocean and its surroundings.
What we offer is a Tradition of Quality and Sustainable Seafood. In the same way that our fishermen consistently give individual attention to the fish they catch, catching and processing One Fish At A Time, our personal touch and focus on quality and service are the difference. Whether it be with catch methods, how we process the fish, or our customer service, we have been a bellwether of quality for over 70 years. We’re in it for the long haul and our commitment to sustainable seafood and the small boat fishing community makes this possible.
In addition, our fish are recognized by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program as “Best Choice.” The fish we catch are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Our Alaska seafood comes from a place where sustainable fisheries are written right into the state constitution. In addition, we have a Kosher certificate, among several others, all of which are important because it’s important to be recognized by reputable outfits. But we also have our own test that goes beyond current compliance stan
Here’s our definition of sustainable seafood:
We believe it’s important that we can look a customer in the eye, say how we caught the fish we sell and how it will get to them. It’s also important that our members’ grandchildren can fish the same way that they do, which to us is the definition of sustainable seafood. Ensuring fisheries are healthy for generations to come, whether by following scientifically determined quotas or by helping preserve habitat, is key to ensure our livelihoods for generations to come.
Most importantly, our fishermen’s cooperative has gained a reputation among its customers as being as transparent as possible. If we don’t have what a customer needs, we tell them. In an era in which an estimated 33% of fish sold in restaurants and grocery stores is mislabeled, we strive to provide our customers with exactly what they are looking for. And we label it correctly. Our fish are processed at a plant here in the United States. Being “Made in the USA”–both caught and processed–provides assurance that it was not caught by pirates on slave boats or processed illegally, which unfortunately is the case for a lot of seafood sold. Because of science-based management and improvements in the enforcement of laws, U.S. fish stocks are as healthy as they have been in decades but Americans still import seafood of dubious quality and unknown origins because it’s difficult to compete price-wise with fish caught and processed by slaves or in places without management based on the sustainable yield principle. Instead of asking why quality American seafood is expensive, we should be asking ourselves why imported, farmed fish is so cheap.
We work hard to be as honest as possible. There are no honesty certificates, but third party certificates are assurance that we do what we say. If you talk to our customers, many of whom we’ve had for decades, you’ll know that we do what we say. And that’s important!