Small boat fishermen and the Future of Food

Small boat fishermen leaving the Sitka harbor.

Dan Barber, author of The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food, notes: “Small boat fishermen are not causing the problems that large-scale trawling does. They are part of the solution. They catch the fish at the right time, when the fish are full of flavor, fat.” So, in essence, fish from a fishermen’s cooperative made up of small boat fishermen is both tastier and more sustainable than most of the options at the fish market.

Our Alaska Gold Seafood is caught by members of Seafood Producers Cooperative, a cooperative owned and operated by small boat hook and line fishermen. This is the good fish for chefs and family kitchen heroes who are obsessed with ingredients and for those who want their food to sing.

Like jamón ibérico from Extremadura, a Mas Masumoto peach (famously served as dessert at Alice Waters’s restaurant on its own with no other adornments than a knife to cut into it), in-season heirloom tomatoes, there really isn’t much seasoning needed on an Alaska Gold king salmon. Salt and pepper and a little olive oil should suffice for a beautiful meal.

Our sustainable seafood, produced on small boats using hook and line methods, is for the long term. The way we harvest fish mimics natural ecosystems. The question is: What is natural? In our case, it’s where the fishermen meet the seas, where we take what we need, leaving enough for future harvests, so our grandchildren can fish the same way that we do.

As fishermen, with a deep connection to the sea, understanding and respecting nature isn’t a choice. It’s an absolute necessity, the rule to survive. Small boat fishermen harvest seafood at a scale that makes sense for both the planet and our palates.