Frequently Asked Questions

Where does Alaska Gold ship?

We ship our seafood to all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to ship outside of the United States of America.

How does shipping work?

We ship the majority of frozen seafood orders on Mondays and Tuesdays. To ensure delivery the same week, please place your order by Tuesday at 6am EST.

We ship with plenty of dry ice. We will include as much dry ice to keep a package frozen the duration of planned shipment time plus one additional day in case of delay due to weather or other mishap.

Our FREE shipping is the default available on all orders, except those going to Hawaii. There is a $85 handling charge for orders going to Hawaii or Puerto Rico. If you need your order to arrive by a specific date, we have rush shipping available for an additional $75.

If you need your order to arrive by a specific date, once again please contact us when you place the order and we can do our best to shepherd an order to arrive by a specific date. We recommend ordering well in advance of the date you’d like the order to arrive. 

When can I expect my order?

Depending on the shipping destination, you can expect your package to arrive 2-10 days after ordering. We typically ship on Mondays and Tuesdays for scheduled delivery Wednesday through Friday depending on your order destination. We do not ship orders to be in transit over the weekend. This means that if you order on a Monday your order may not ship until early the following week. Please contact us before placing your order if you need your seafood by a certain date or if you’d like a more specific shipping timeline.

** Our canned tuna ships ground–expect arrival in 3 to 7 days.

Can I request a specific ship date?

Occasionally we get requests for a shipment to arrive on a certain date. Please contact us before you place your order for shipping requests and questions. We do our best to accommodate these requests.

What is 'rush shipping' ?

On the checkout screen, there is an option to select “Rush Shipping” for $75. However, take note: An order placed on a Monday, for example, after 9:45 AM CST, will not be picked up until Tuesday. An order with “Rush Shipping” will ship overnight to arrive Wednesday in this case. 

What happens if there are weather problems during shipping?

We do our best to monitor weather around the country. We will not ship our perishables packages if a region is experiencing  a weather event until no delays are expected. We will be as proactive as possible to not ship until we know our packages can arrive in a safe condition in a timely manner.

However, we cannot predict changes in the weather. We will inform customers of the status of the package if there are changes. Weather events are out of our control and once a package has left our facilities, we cannot re-route it.

If this happens and your fish does not arrive in pristine state, let us know. We will replace your order or do everything we can to make the order to your satisfaction. We advise customers to plan ahead and not order last minute.

What happens if my order arrives thawed?

We ship all over the country in all kinds of weather. We look at where a package is going and the predicted weather for the location before shipping perishable items. Based on the knowledge we have gained with all of our shipping experience, we include enough ice on orders to keep the order frozen upon arrival, plus an “insurance amount.” We make adjustments based on our experience. Your order should arrive frozen.

However, there can be delays when either weather, mechanical issues, or just plain human error cause a late arrival. The “insurance amount” of ice we include can usually keep the product frozen an additional day. Don’t panic if you find some partially thawed packages. A package that is still cold (38° F or below) can be safely refrozen without compromising the quality of product. Use more thawed pieces first. However, if you are concerned, please contact us. We guarantee our quality, which means that we aim for our customers to be 100% satisfied with each order.

Can I split-ship or ship to two different addresses?

Please place a separate order for each shipping address for products being shipped to different places.

Where does the fish ship from?

We work out of two Cold Storages–one near Bellingham, Washington, where our business offices are, and one in Richmond, Virginia. Having a shipping hub in Virginia helps us more efficiently reach customers on the East Coast.

We’ve found that shipping from Alaska using FedEx or UPS is nearly impossible in terms of reliability and cost issues. So, believe it or not, we use a large barge to bring frozen containers of fish stateside and to our shipping hubs. Temperature control (keeping product well below freezing without any variations) is of the utmost importance, so you’ll see that when you receive product that it should be frozen rock solid and in pristine state. We include quite a bit of dry ice with each order of perishable items.

How is the fish packed?

Our frozen portions are vacuum-sealed packages that are shipped to you in an insulator and recyclable cardboard box. Easily stored in the freezer, you can pull the vacuum-sealed packages out one at a time as needed to thaw in your refrigerator. As long as they are kept in a freezer at its coldest setting, you can keep them for a long time: 3 to 6 months if you have a deep freeze and 1 to 2 months in a freezer with frequent use and opening of the door.

Great care has been taken to make these vacuum-sealed packages as convenient as possible. Our vacuum-sealed packages, you’ll notice, are particularly thick for protection. A good seal helps result in a quality final result and ensures quality. If you see a leaking package, let us know.

Our gourmet canned albacore is cooked once with a few grains of salt and canned in Bellingham, Washington. Simple, but extraordinarily good.

What do I do with my fish when it arrives?

You can either place the vacuum-sealed packages in your fridge (ideal to pop a hole in the vacuum-sealed bag first). In the fridge, once thawed you should cook within 2 days, ideally within 24 hours. You can store the fish in your freezer for a good amount of time. There is no expiration date because the fish’s quality after time will depend on a lot of factors (temperature, temperature control and variations, quality of seal, etc.). Ideally, you store them at your freezer’s coldest setting. If you have a deep freeze, 3 to 6 months, but if you have a freezer as part of your fridge, you’re probably going to want to consume within 1-3 months.

Cut vacuum-sealed bag open and thaw under refrigeration at 38° F for 24 hours and let stand at room temperature before cooking.  In a pinch, if you forget to put in fridge before preparing, you can run cold water over the fish until thawed (about 15 minutes). This will impair quality for the connoisseur, but will help in a pinch.

We also recommend wiping the frozen fish off with a paper towel to remove moisture and thereby prevent sticking on a pan while cooking.

Is it wild?

All of our fish is wild-caught from the icy pristine waters of the North Pacific, caught mostly off the coast of Southeast Alaska. Not farmed. Each box is labeled “Wild, Product of USA.”

Is it tasty?

Our hook and line-caught fish is super-tasty, as high a quality a fish as you will find. We take our mission to provide our customers with high quality fish very seriously. The care and pride our small boat fishermen have in producing a quality product is  the difference. Traveling around and bringing our wild salmon to new customers, we commonly hear: “This is the best salmon I’ve ever tasted.” The care with which we process and pack the salmon, in addition to the albacore, halibut and sablefish we catch, is unparalleled in the industry. Restaurants and retailers have recognized this quality for years.

Where does this fish come from?

Our wild salmon, halibut and black cod are caught primarily off the coast of Southeast Alaska and also in the Gulf of Alaska. A small number of our co-op owners also fish king salmon in the waters off California. Popular fishing spots among our members are Chatham Strait for black cod and the Fairweather Grounds for salmon and halibut. The waters outside of Sitka, on Sitka Sound, are also well-known salmon trolling grounds. Our albacore is caught off the West Coast of the United States. Most of the albacore tuna our co-op members catch is caught about 60 to 80 miles off the coast of Washington.

Where are your fish processed?

All of our fish are processed at our plant in Sitka, Alaska or in Bellingham, Washington. In accordance with USDA, each label on our boxes reads “Wild, Product of USA.”

Fresh is better than frozen, right?

Here are many reasons why you should  eat frozen seafood over “fresh.”

Blind taste tests have shown the frozen fish many times taste better than “fresh, never frozen” fish. A recent blind taste test with Oregon State University, Ecotrust, the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association and Seafood Analytics, a firm that has developed a device that uses an electric current to measure freshness, allowed home consumers to compare “fresh” and “frozen” seafood. According to Ecotrust, the results were telling: “not only did consumers prefer the frozen fish, but the flash-frozen products also rated higher in quality freshness, as measured by the CQR.”

Seafood Producers Cooperative sells a good amount of its fish to restaurants and retailers fresh, never frozen, yet we sell a larger amount of our fish frozen because more and more buyers understand that frozen fish, when handled correctly, can be “fresher than fresh.” Because the headaches in logistics are made much simpler once a fish is frozen, frozen fish also has a much smaller carbon footprint than a fresh fish. What’s essential is starting with a fresh, high-quality product. Line-caught salmon, for example, are harvested on the open ocean when the salmon are in their peak state. Our line-caught fish is handled One Fish At A Time. Fish don’t stack up on boat decks as they would if they were net-caught. Properly cutting and gutting the fish is also really important. Pressure bleeding the fish with a micro-pipette also makes a big difference. The Alaska Gold Difference is paying attention to all of these details–catch method, landing method, cuts, bleeding, sanitation, state of the art freezing technologies. We take great pride in the quality of our seafood.

We wish more consumers would realize that frozen fish is superior to “fresh never frozen” fish. With freezing technologies and good vigilance, frozen fish can be kept for quite some time. Also, it’s really disappointing when fishermen walk by the seafood department in the supermarket and watch (and smell) fish dying. Smart consumers are seeing that fish in the frozen case can be many times “fresher” than what’s in the “fresh” case. There’s no hard and fast rule—a fish’s quality is going to depend on a number of factors. Firstly, you have to start with a good fish. Catch methods, boat sanitation, processing methods, freezing methods, temperature control, all play an important role in the quality of the fish. There are frozen fish that have been out of the water for three years that are much better than most of what you get in a “fresh” case at the supermarket.

Another reason that frozen fish is superior to “fresh, not frozen” fish is the fact that one-quarter of fish in supermarkets and restaurants is wasted. 1/4 of fish caught means very roughly 2.2 billion pounds of fish per year or to put it in salmon terms, very roughly 200 million salmon, is literally wasted. If you care about sustainable seafood management, consider the many pros of frozen fish. In addition to being less prone to spoilage, blind taste tests reveal that frozen fish many times tastes better than “fresh, never frozen” fish.

Does fish have an expiration date? When is the best time to order?

As noted in the answer to the previous question, many times the fresh-frozen seafood that we sell is much better than “fresh never frozen” seafood. Those of us in the office take home our fish year-round and we don’t have a preference for having the fish at one time or another. Don’t take it from us. Take it from our customers. Here are a couple of reviews from customers:

“We live on the Oregon coast and have been buying fresh salmon locally off the fishing boats. Then we go to all the effort of cleaning them ourselves, deboning, and vacuum packing in individual servings. The Alaska Gold Coho is PERFECT! The method of processing and freezing so quickly preserves the great flavor. And having them cleaned, de-boned, and vacuum packed in individual serving portions is so convenient! The 2-day shipping brought a box to the house that was absolutely freezing when I opened it. Colder than my deep freezer! All I had to do was unpack, put them in the deep freeze and voila’! I was all done! The salmon is just the best…..will be ordering on a regular basis.”

“In June 2018 I ordered 30 pounds of coho fillets. I was concerned because I knew they were the prior years’s catch and I worried that the fish might be freezer burned or dry or just too old. I called and was told that the catch was probably from late fall 2017 and should be fine. I decided to take a chance, and am I ever glad I did. Each time I open a defrosted vacuum-packed fillet, I am delighted at the fresh taste and firm texture. Simply delicious!”

There is no printed expiration date on our fish. The frozen fish we offer for sale on our website has been blast frozen. It is stored at -10 F or below in a commercial freezer. Stored at this temperature with no temperature changes, some claim that the fish will be fine to eat in two, even three years. What will ruin the quality of a fish isn’t time but temperature change. Which is why we recommend eating the frozen fish within 3 to 6 months to be safe. Most people open and close their freezer doors frequently or may not have their freezer set at its coldest setting. If there are frequent temperature changes in your freezer, we recommend eating the fish within 2-3 months. When we sell our fish wholesale to Europe, we put an expiration date 2 years after harvest date. When shipped and stored with care at proper temperatures, the fish should last a long time. However, we find our fish so tasty that it doesn’t last too long in our freezers.

One other common question we get is if our canned fish has an expiration date. It does not. If kept in a cool, dark pantry, our canned fish can be eaten decades from now. Some afficionados even like "aging" their canned fish. Like a wine, the flavor can become richer over time. But we think you'll enjoy our canned fish so much it won't last very long in your pantry.

Are there bones? Skin?

All of our salmon and halibut portions are de-boned. The salmon portions and sides are skin-on and the halibut portions are boneless/skinless. Our sablefish portions are skin-on and boneless.  Our tuna medallions are cut from loins with no bones. If you order our larger salmon fillets (sides), these DO have pin bones in them, so you have to de-bone with pliers, which is a simple process once you learn. Our bone-less salmon portions are more convenient for those who don’t have time or desire to de-bone.

Are there any additives in the fish?

There are no additives in the fish. When you order halibut, for example in each vacuum-sealed package, you receive halibut.

Is it sustainable?

Our seafood is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). In addition, Alaska’s successful fisheries management practices produce consistently healthy and sustainable fish harvests year after year. The state of Alaska is a model for sustainable seafood for the world. As stated in Alaska's State Constitution: “Fish, forests, wildlife, grasslands, and all other replenishable resources belonging to the State shall be utilized, developed, and maintained on the sustained yield principle.” See more about how Alaska works for sustainable seafood here.

There's a lot of over-fishing and damage caused to the environment by fishing, right?

There is. But our fish is caught One Fish At A Time. All of the fish we catch come from sustainable fisheries. Our Alaska-caught fish managed to be sustainable, so that future generations may enjoy the bounty. In addition, because all of our fish is caught on hook and line, by-catch is minimized. Hook and line methods  are the exact opposite of mass extraction methods–we have deep respect for the wild seafood that we catch. We catch and handle One Fish At A Time.

Is it sustainable?

All Alaska seafood is wild and pure, responsibly managed for continuing abundance. All of our fish offered for sale on the Alaska Gold Seafood website is listed as Best Choice or Green on Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program.

Alaska has pioneered the standard for sustainable, eco-friendly fisheries management. Alaska’s fish populations are managed for protection against over-fishing and sources of habitat damage. By proactively ensuring a healthy, wild and sustainable harvest, Alaska is protecting its superior seafood for future generations.

Is it non-GMO? Gluten-free? Organic?

Just like nature intended, our fish is wild and natural with no preservatives, artificial coloring, seasonings or antibiotics. Our king salmon, coho salmon, halibut, sablefish and albacore tuna are not genetically engineered. No king salmon, coho salmon, halibut, sablefish or albacore tuna are genetically engineered. Like all wild seafood, our wild seafood is gluten-free. Since there is currently no certification process in place for wild seafood in the United States to be certified organic, our fish is not certified organic.

What sort of food safety standards do you have?

We have a detailed HACCP plan in accordance with the FDA and are audited by the USDC and the state of Alaska.

Should I be worried about mercury content?

Our fish is not known as a high-risk fish for Mercury like larger predator fish (swordfish and shark, for example). Alaska is an extremely low population area. The rivers in Alaska where most of the salmon are born, reared, and eventually spawn have very few people living near them – usually towns with populations of less than 10,000 people, which makes the rivers an excellent environment for salmon to call home. Therefore, our fish is very safer from mercury contamination. In addition, salmon, albacore tuna, sablefish and halibut all are high in selenium, which is an essential mineral that counteracts mercury toxicity. 

Here is more information on how selenium counteracts mercury toxicity and all of the other health benefits of selenium, which include anti-virus, anti-cancer, and other immunity-boosting properties. This is an excellent summary of why healthy eaters should not limit consumption of ocean seafood over concerns of mercury contamination. The FDA acceptable limit for mercury is 1.0 parts per million, and Alaska seafood falls well below that accepted limit. In addition, our albacore tuna tested at 337ppb or 0.337ppm, well below the 1.0 ppm FDA action limit. And more information about mercury in Alaska seafood here.

Do you ever test for histamines?

We do occasionally get requests from our wholesale customers for histamine levels on our tuna. Because of our freezing and handling processes, results show histamine levels that are barely measurable, so for those that are histamine intolerant, we believe that you should feel safe eating our tuna and we feel confident saying that about our salmon, halibut and sablefish, too. We use good practices for maintaining temperature control on our fish, which is key to preventing histamine build-up.

A number of our customers concerned about histamines ask about frozen-at-sea seafood. A number of our fishermen do catch salmon that they freeze at sea. However, note that we do have to thaw these to cut into portions, remove bones, and package. So, it becomes six of one and half a dozen of another. Our boats that don’t freeze at sea (we call them “ice” boats because they use ice to keep the fish at 33-34 degrees until they make it back to shore where the fish is frozen) do a great job with temperature control and their fish isn’t double-frozen like the frozen-at-sea salmon.  We find that both make good portions, and we’ve moved to the ice salmon in general, because portioning and freezing in one go might be a tad superior.  At this time, we do not sell these whole frozen-at-sea fish on our website because 1) they are difficult to ship whole and 2) most Americans want their fish in either portions or fillets and have no idea how to break down a fish into usable parts. Filleting a fish is a bit of an art in itself and is not for the amateur chef (for starters, you need a lot of kitchen space and a lot of people to eat the whole fish).

Is your fish "sashimi-grade"?

It is commonly accepted and also recommended by the FDA that to consume raw (i.e., as sushi), fish like salmon should be frozen at -4 F for at least 7 days. Which is exactly what we do. Plenty of fish companies market their fish as “sushi” grade or “sashimi” grade, but those terms are purely sales/marketing terms–in the United States, there are no official industry regulations that stipulate that a fish is “sushi grade.”  

That being said, most of us in the office believe the best way to eat our tuna is raw in a poke or as sashimi. Cooking our tuna for any longer than 2 minutes will completely ruin it. It also must be said, just like you see in any professional restaurant kitchen: “Consuming raw or undercooked seafood may increase your risk of food borne illness. When preparing raw or lightly cured seafood, use commercially frozen fish to minimize your risk of food borne illness.”

Should I be worried about dented cans?

If any of your cans arrive with small dents, they should be safe to eat. If any cans arrive with deep dents (a dent you can lay your finger into), they should be discarded and you can send us an email for a credit. 

Has Japan’s Fukushima meltdown affected Pacific seafood?

In 2011, a large earthquake damaged the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, causing the release of contaminated water into the surrounding ocean. We occasionally get questions from customers concerned about radioactivity levels in our fish. Multiple studies conducted by the FDA and State of Alaska indicate that Pacific seafood pose no risks to consumers’ health. As of September 2020, the FDA has not detected significant levels of radioisotopes.

While there is reason for concerns over mercury levels and oceanic pollution, it must be said that eating fish is far safer than not eating it at all. (Don’t take it from us, take it from objective peer-reviewed science; read it here, here and here).

Material adapted from Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

Our Quality Guarantee

Thanks for visiting Alaska Gold! We’re deeply grateful for your business. As a fishermen-owned cooperative, we’re committed to providing you with the highest quality Alaska seafood. If you’re at all dissatisfied with our product, reply to your order receipt with a photo of the product and description of the issue. Though we can’t accept returns, we will do everything we can to make your order right.

While we pack our orders with plenty of dry ice, occasionally packages are delayed in transit. If your portions arrive partially thawed, they can be safely refrozen. As long as the thawed edges extend no more than the length of your pinky fingernail, they can be safely cooked or refrozen. We recommend using the more thawed pieces first. If your order arrives completely thawed, email us and we will send you a replacement order at no cost. If you have any special shipping requests, please contact us before placing your order and we will do everything we can to meet your needs.

Returns Policy

Frozen seafood items cannot be returned. We can’t re-use them and it’s extremely expensive to send perishable goods. Do not attempt to send them back to us. If you receive fish products that are thawed or materially damaged or have other substantive problems, we will replace your products free of charge.

If you are trying something new for the first time, please order the smallest quantity. The most economic way to get our fish for you and for us is by ordering larger quantities, but we offer smaller quantities for those wanting to try something for the first time. We stand by the quality of our fish. The handling methods on the boats, the care we put into processing and packaging the fish are all second to none. We cannot account for your tastes if you order a large box of halibut and decide that you don’t like halibut. Seafood that is ordered cannot be returned. If you ordered the wrong item, please don’t send it back. Please check your email receipt to make sure you are getting what you want. That being said, we stand by the quality of what we produce and want you to be completely satisfied with the quality of our Alaska Gold Seafood products. We offer numerous seafood recipes and cooking tips. We can also answer questions and offer tips over the phone or by email, but recognize that we all have different tastes.

To request a replacement, please contact us by responding to your order receipt email within 7 days of receipt of products. Please, if you can, send photos of the damage in question to this email address. There should also be a lot code on a small sticker on each package. Please take a picture of this code. Once again, we pride ourselves in our product, so any complaint is a serious complaint. But without supporting information, we cannot learn from those experiences or even be confident that we are talking about the same thing. Please email a picture of the unsatisfactory product and describe to the best of your ability the problem with the product and send to Please include the following information (how the fish was handled, thawed, cooked) and send pictures, without which we do not have enough information to rectify the situation and we cannot offer a refund or re-ship or whatever is deemed necessary.

If you are not satisfied with your order, please be aware of the following guidelines:
Please notify us within 7 days of purchase date with order number.
Product must have been purchased from Alaska Gold Seafood’s web site.
You must have a proof of purchase. When your order goes through our website, you will receive an automatically generated email receipt.
If we do issue a store credit, it can only go to the person who placed the order through our website.
Shipping charges are refundable only if products were delivered late or damaged in transit.
Alaska Gold Seafood cannot be held responsible for damages to our product coming from not storing it properly upon receipt.
Did your order arrive on time but nobody was there to receive it? We can’t take responsibility for delays in receipt of packages because of a problem with the front desk or door person at your residence or business. Which is why we send an email with tracking info and also have a shipping map with estimated ship times. If you have any questions on arrival date, let us know.

A replacement will only be sent with the evidence that there was a delay in shipment or damage to the product. For other cases, we will use our best judgement to offer partial or full store credit as we see the case.