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Why the Price Increase in Canned Alaska Salmon

Two boats fishing in front of a setting sun.
Pure Alaska Salmon Company, LLC, greatly regrets the need for our price increases. The increases honestly reflect our increased costs, and these increased costs are due to a substantial shortfall in the 2018 Alaska salmon catch. Contributing to this shortfall is an ever increasing global demand for fresh or frozen Alaska salmon.

We are sorry on many levels. We are concerned about the health of wild salmon resource; what caused so few fish to return to their natal streams? Secondly, we are worried about the health of the commercial fishing fleet, including our family, as it takes a lot of capital to maintain a fishing boat, and lastly, but not least, we are concerned about the availability of this great food resource for people to enjoy. Canned wild Alaska salmon is such a great and affordable food choice, and we hate to see that accessibility diminished.

Erratic things do happen in nature, so we have learned not to jump to conclusions, but this season’s shortfall is undeniably troubling. It was such a dramatic decline and there are patterns in the way the salmon returned that are unusual.

We are not biologists, but as a fishing family we do listen with special attention to these issues. There are reported to be two deleterious forces at work; less precipitation to support the salmon streams and less food in the ocean for the migrating salmon. Both phenomena would seem to stem from a changing climate.

This summer, for instance, Southeast Alaska, site of one the world’s great rain forests, where the abundant snow and rain has made for the thousands of streams that support millions of salmon and the critters that eat those salmon—it was drought conditions. Without water in the streams, salmon cannot spawn and therefore do not reproduce. Mature salmon will tread water outside those dry streams waiting for adequate water and the longer they must wait, if the rainfall ever comes, the more the returning salmon lose strength to reproduce. The upper northern latitudes are warming at far more rapid rates than the rest of the globe.

Not only are spawning conditions more challenging, but for those salmon that do manage to make it back out to the ocean for the migratory phase of their existence, there has been less food available.

The so-called Warm Pacific Blob of 2013-14 moved through the North Pacific and greatly upset the food column. Warmer waters are not as fertile as colder waters. Warmer waters may have more varieties of fish, but colder waters support much larger volumes of fish. It was reported that in some areas of Alaska what few salmon returned, were severely under weight. Fish are coldblooded and the warmer water increases metabolism rates, hence increasing nutritional requirements. A less fertile ocean combined with fewer and hungrier fish is not a good combination.

With one very striking exception, the Alaska salmon catch for the 2018 season, fell far below the already mediocre predictions. Bristol Bay, the exception, had a record run of sockeye this year, but the rest of Alaska produced less than half the prediction. This shortfall was especially acute with pink salmon. In 2017, the pink salmon catch total was 135 million fish— in 2018, it was a mere 38 million. The sockeye catch appears to be more robust, but only because certain rivers in the vast Bristol Bay region produced super abundances. The sockeye catch for the rest of Alaska was very poor. Bristol Bay sockeye largely goes to the fresh and frozen market, so canned product inventory is very slim.

In summation, these are the reasons that we know why the cost of canned salmon has increased so sharply. It is our hope that mankind takes in these troubling signals, sets aside politics and starts to do what we can do to minimize whatever our impact on natural cycles may be. It is simply the smart and right thing to do.

One thing remains the same—wild Alaska salmon is one of the most healthy and delicious proteins you can eat and even at these prices we would argue that it is still a great nutritional value.

P.S. The ‘Warm Pacific blob’ seems to be regrouping this fall.

The Wild Trailer

Here is a the trailer for what promises to be a great film about Bristol Bay, source of much of the world’s sockeye salmon. Feast on the visuals of of this miraculous place and think about the consequences of what would be North America’s largest pit mine next to it. Are gold baubles worth the potential permanent loss of this spectacular place?

SAVE BRISTOL BAY–With a Big, Fat ‘NO!’ to Pebble Mine

If you love to eat wild Alaska salmon –read on–

We have posted a banner on our website’s homepage, encouraging our wild salmon loving customers to read about the proposed Pebble Mine. https://www.purealaskasalmon.com/

Fishing people, in my experience, are practical people, and as we are resource harvesters, I think there is general respect for other industries that source our world’s bounty.  I question folks who enjoy our world’s resources, while simultaneously disdaining the people and industries who make those resources available for human use. That said, environmental regulations are an absolutely essential piece in the puzzle of resource utilization.

I say this to explain that I understand the need for mining—

 But Pebble Mine does not belong on top of the world’s greatest, by far, sockeye salmon run!

If  ‘Health is the greatest wealth;’ and “You are what you eat,” then what is more valuable to our country, the incomparable health giving properties of wild Alaska salmon, or gold? Pebble Mine poses a grave threat to the irreplaceable watershed of Bristol Bay.

If the resulting 2.5 to 10 BILLION tons of permanently toxic mine tailings, shielded behind a proposed earthen dam 700 feet high and several miles long, were to escape into the Bristol Bay watershed, which, lies, incidentally in a high earthquake zone, it could be a very dire situation.

Earthquakes aside, it is hard to imagine that what would be North America’s largest mine, could operate without doing serious and irreparable damage to this  extremely productive area.

Few Alaskans are for Pebble Mine, as they understand the stakes, but the Canadian mining company, Northern Dynasty–that has never  developed a mine before, pushes on.  It is still a question  mark who will prevail in this epic, ten year old environmental battle.

So please,

Please go to Trout Unlimited’s excellent website, http://www.savebristolbay.org/home/ for more information about this stunningly irresponsible proposal. You can help by making others aware of the issue and voicing your opposition using the resources at http://www.savebristolbay.org/take-action.

No Pebble Mine Sticker*** Pure Alaska customers can claim a free ‘No on Pebble Mine’ sticker to display when you checkout from our web store.

Canned Alaska Salmon for Overseas Personnel

Soldier Family Selfie
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We get a steady stream orders from folks serving the United States government in overseas assignments. Most who order seem to be military personnel, but we also get orders from people in the diplomatic corps. It is a privilege to fill these orders and we try to add something extra special with the limited extra room in the USPS flat rate boxes that we use.

From now on, when I am fulfilling orders to identifiable ‘APO,’ and the like, addresses, I will refund the buyer 10%. We should have done this sooner.

Canned wild Alaska salmon is a great food choice to give or get for anyone, but it is especially so for people doing strenuous and stressful work.

Sleep is a Weapon and Food is too…

In the fishing community, the great Bristol Bay fisherman, Buck Gibbons, is quoted as saying, Sleep is a weapon. I would like add to Buck’s missive-Good nutrition is a weapon.

*Canned Alaska salmon is very, very nourishing. It supplies quality (and delicious!) fuel to nutritionally optimize mind and body function. It has been my experience that I feel and function much better throughout the day after eating wild salmon. It seems to just generally steady my energy, mood and mental sharpness.

Easy to Eat…

*Canned wild Alaska salmon is very shelf stable and is an easy food to consume, requiring only a can opener and a fork.

Finest of things…

*Canned wild Alaska salmon, in my humble opinion, is also a food that represents some of the finest things about our nation. Wild Alaska salmon is considered the best managed fishery in the world, and is a global model for fisheries management. State of Alaska biologists, in concert with the fishing industry, have shepherded this truly wondrous resource to abundance and sustainability. Wild Alaska salmon is a great reminder of our nation’s capacity for greatness, and that seems to me to be in the spirit with which military personnel and diplomats serve our nation.

So, if you are trying to think of something to send your loved one serving overseas, give canned wild Alaska salmon a thought. We will send it out promptly and any order going to APO, FPO, or DPO addresses will receive a 10% refund to the purchaser.

Weston Ochse

“There are tastes that take you away from where you are; signature aromas that transport you to a different time. Coffee is this way, the smell, the taste, closed eyes, reminding you of so many places you’ve been, so many times you’ve started a new day. Redhead salmon is also this for me. A dash of hot sauce and I’m no longer in Afghanistan, smelling fumes and burning garbage, living on the edge of fear, but rather on the edge of an ice-hugged stream or river, eagles diving, fish running, the air crisp and bright. I can live without salmon, but who would want to, especially in a place like Afghanistan. Redhead makes life better.”
 
Weston Ochse, bestselling author of SEAL Team 666 and Grunt Life


 

Notes on the Military Postal System

Young Patriotic CoupleFor good reason, it is impossible to tell exactly where these overseas salmon customers are stationed, but there are some indicators embedded in the unique addressing system, called the Overseas Military Mail. OMM is a joint venture of the United States Postal Service and the Department of Defense.

The areas were divided into three Military “States:”
AA – Armed Forces Americas
AE – Armed Forces Europe
AP – Armed Forces Pacific

Those States are divided into three “Cities:”
APO – Army Post Office
FPO – Fleet Post Office
DPO – Diplomatic Post Office

An overseas Military address is constructed the same as a domestic US address, so it can be sorted just like regular mail.

All mail is delivered at it’s normal speed to it’s departure city here in the U.S.

Example: Priority Mail is 2-3 days to reach San Francisco, CA. Overseas Military addresses also have similar zip codes to the ones in their departure city.
AA – Miami, FL
AE – New York, NY
AP – San Francisco, CA

Each APO/FPO/DPO is staffed by members of the respective branch of service. Military post offices operate like a domestic post office. Each address holder also has a mail lock box where their mail is delivered. Whenever a parcel arrives, they receive a delivery notification slip.

Good Food Award Winner

Good Food Award Winner 2018
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Pure Alaska Salmon is pleased to announce our 2018 Good Food Award. This award recognizes our work as a sustainable food producer and we were judged on the highest social and environmental standards as well as the quality of the product. The creativity and passion of the other finalists for bringing good food to market was inspiring. We are thrilled to be chosen as one of the best and want to thank all of our loyal customers for supporting us.

About the Good Food Awards

The Good Food Awards celebrate the kind of food we all want to eat: tasty, authentic and responsible. Now in its eighth year, awards will be given to winners in 15 categories: beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, cider, coffee, confections, elixirs, fish, honey, oils, pantry, pickles, preserves and spirits. The Good Food Awards Seal, found on winning products, assures consumers they have found something exceptionally delicious that also supports sustainability and social good.

Good Food Award Finalist

We proudly announce…

ThinkPink Wild Alaska Pink Salmon is a finalist in the coveted Good Foods Award competition. Over 2,000 entries were subjected to blind tastings and ThinkPink won one of the nine places in the seafood category.

Good Food finalists, “…represent not just the best of America’s food movement, but the qualities we love most about this country: our rich cultural diversity, vibrant agricultural landscape, and the creativity and integrity of its small business owners.”

For more information about the Good Food Awards, go to www.goodfooodawards.org.

2018 Good Food Award Finalist

Pure Alaska Salmon Company LLC is honored to have earned this recognition.

Best Protein for a Hot Summer Day–Canned Alaska Salmon

Canned Alaska salmon, arguably, is the best protein for hot weather meals. Nutritionally, what compares with Alaska salmon? Not much, if anything– maybe sardines?   Sardines, however, don’t marry so well with other foods, as they like to stand alone accompanied by little more than a cracker.

Canned Alaska salmon is a friendly food and just loves to partner up with all kinds of salads, making a summer salad a complete, delicious and very nutritious summer meal.  And, did we mention, there is NO COOKING – just chop and toss and serve.

Try adding canned salmon to coleslaw, it makes a simply delicious combination. I take Lemony Salmon Coleslaw to potlucks, and it never fails to get numerous compliments. An even simpler recipe,

Asian Coleslaw, by Judy of Texas,

  • Combine bagged coleslaw mix
  • With a 7.5 oz can of Redhead wild Alaska sockeye salmon
  • Some toasted sesame seeds
  • Asian ginger salad dressing

Judy cautions to go light on the dressing, so the salad doesn’t lose the great ‘crunch.’  Jusy also puts this recipe together and lets it rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Potato salad is another classic summer food, that  when canned salmon is added, it elevates it from that yummy carb and fat rich classic to something you can eat as a main dish. I would add a little extra pickle juice or vinegar for that tang that goes so well with fish or,  sliced radishes achieves the same tangy effect.

Macaroni salad is nutritional kissing cousin to potato salad, and canned salmon works well in it too.

A Very Easy Pasta Salad is;

  • Bow tie noodles, cooked,
  • Some chopped onion–whatever is available from yellow onions to green onions
  • Peas, fresh cooked or thawed frozen
  • Mayonnaise, to taste
  • Salt & Pepper and perhaps some grated lemon rind

Greek salad is another recipe that pares nicely with canned salmon. I use a lemon vinaigrette rather than red wine, but either works well.

Wild Salmon Salad with BlueberriesA green salad is a natural with canned salmon. Use your summer veggies and favorite dressing along with canned salmon and voila, here is a delicious and nutritious summer meal. I think blueberries work well with canned salmon. Blueberries and wild Alaska salmon really like each other. Blueberries grow along the salmon streams and bears eat both with great relish.

Green salad with salmon is so healthy, you need to have a double dip ice cream cone afterwards to balance all that virtue.

Canned Wild Alaska Salmon + Avocados; A Marriage Made in Food Heaven.

Canned wild Alaska salmon makes a great partner in many recipes, adding rich flavor and tremendous nutritional value. And, as it is so easy to use, it readily lends itself to spontaneous kitchen innovation. That is where most of our recipes come from; where we think, while making our regular recipes, “Canned salmon would work well in this.” One such fine food pairing is canned wild Alaska salmon and avocados.

Salmon and Avocados

Both are so-called ‘nutritional powerhouses’ featuring a rich constellation of vitamins and minerals, along with nature’s best fats—long chain omega 3 fatty acids in the wild salmon and the monounsaturated fats of the avocado. Four ounces of canned salmon provides 26 grams of protein, more than half of woman’s recommended daily intake. Squeeze on some lemon juice, and you’ve added vitamin C.

Your skin, your heart, your mood, your everything will rejoice at this extra easy meal for lunch or a light dinner. *You can also try mix in some blueberries and almonds or capers and onions, along with your favorite vinaigrette—the possibilities are really limitless!

You can find our new recipe below:

Salmon Salad inside an Avocado Wild Alaska Salmon + Summer+ Avocados = Food Perfection

What Fishermen Do In the Winter

People often ask what fishermen do during months when they are not actively fishing, and my response is, “Lots!”

December and the first weeks of January are, indeed, pretty free of obligation, fishing wise. The boat has been winterized, we’ve had our celebrations, taxes aren’t due for a spell and the winter roll of meetings has yet to begin.

There is plenty of work to be done on the nets,

Working on the Net in the Offseason
Working on the Net in the Offseason
Big Wrenches in Tight Spaces
Big Wrenches in Tight Spaces

but primarily there is constant work to be done maintaining a steel boat that spends its life in salt water. Jim has referred to the boat as a ‘machine shop on the salt water,’ with great strain put on the engine and hydraulic systems during the fishing season and then left to fend off the vicissitudes of salt water upon steel all winter long. There are three engines powering the Marshal Tito operation; the main engine, a 871 ‘Jimmy’ diesel, an auxiliary diesel engine, used to power the refrigeration system and a Jimmy 671 diesel in the skiff. The skiff is used to control the end of the 1/3 mile long net, and requires a lot of power for that purpose.

Jim thought it was smooth sailing until three weeks ago, just a month before he intended to leave for Alaska, when it was discovered that the main engine had to be rebuilt. Such jobs, usually relegated to the winter months when there is plenty of time, are huge and very expensive, costing over $50,000. Global competition for steel has made anything made of steel very expensive. It is striking how quickly and dramatically these global market forces have come into play.

In addition to rebuilding the main engine, the gear, a 509 Twin disc transmission, was pulled out of the engine room for rebuilding. This earnest machine has worked hard and unerringly for over 30 years, and has, in my opinion, almost a personality (think Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel). Here is a picture of this hardworking servant after 30 long years translating the power of the main engine to the propeller that moves the boat.

Before the $13,000 Spa Treatment
Before the $13,000 Spa Treatment
The After
The After

It almost deserves and bouquet of flowers and a gold watch, instead what it got was a $13,000 spa treatment at Mill-Log, an Oregon based business dedicated to the repair of Twin Disc transmissions. If only we could all experience this degree of transformation after a $13,000 visit to machine shop!

The Marshal Tito, helpless, has been tied to the dock during this time that the engine has been at the shop. When the engine is installed, it is time for the boat yard in Port Townsend where the hull will be inspected and painted. Port Townsend is worthy of whole story all its own. Stay tuned.

Wild Salmon Fights Diabetes

With Diabetes now affecting Americans at epidemic levels (and growing every year), researchers are scrambling to find solutions to this problem. Everyone wants to know why this is happening and what we can do about it. Some of the answers are obvious, like eating a balanced diet and getting more exercise. Â But what does it mean, exactly, to eat a balanced diet? Well, recent studies show that eating wild salmon regularly can not only help prevent Type 2 diabetes, but may also slow the effects of diabetes in those that are already suffering from the disease.

Sockeye Salmon, Look at That Unmistakable Color
Sockeye Salmon, Look at That Unmistakable Color

In short, Wild Salmon has the power to:

  • Reduce inflammation – Omega-3s from fish reduce the inflammation in blood vessels characteristic of heart disease and diabetes
  • Lower Triglycerides – Omega-3s lower blood triglycerides (fats) and boost the amount of HDL or “good” cholesterol. These changes are especially favorable in people with heart disease and type 2 diabetes
  • Help prevent obesity – Diets rich in seafood omega-3s may reduce fat tissue
  • Manage blood glucose levels – fish is a lean, high-protein food that doesn’t raise blood glucose levels

And those are only the ways wild salmon can fight diabetes. The Omega-3 fatty acids in salmon are connected with a whole slew of other health benefits, including heart, brain, and eye health, as well as maternal and infant health.

* I think it is important to note here that only WILD salmon contains these beneficial properties. Farmed salmon contains unhealthy levels of Omega 6 fatty acids, which actually increase inflammation, and dangerous levels of Persistent Organic Pollutants like PCBs, which are linked with metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes. For more information on the connection between farmed salmon and Type 2 Diabetes, check out this study.

The following is an excerpt from a paper titled “Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids from Fish in Type 2 Diabetes,” by Joyce A. Nettleton, DSc, RD

“Omega-3 fatty acids, found mainly in fat-rich fish such as salmon, rainbow trout, mackerel, and sardines confer health benefits not found in other foods. Omega-3s from fish are highly polyunsaturated fatty acids that lower triglycerides, reduce abnormal heart rhythms, reduce blood pressure by small but significant amounts, and improve blood clotting regulation. In a large study of more than 11,000 people with heart disease, the daily consumption of about one gram of fish oil reduced cardiovascular mortality by 30% and sudden cardiac death by 45%. A gram of fish oil is equivalent to a 3 ounce serving of salmon. Omega-3s may also boost the effectiveness of statins, drugs widely prescribed to lower blood LDL cholesterol levels.Studying populations such as the Alaskan and Greenland Inuit, who frequently eat fatty fish or marine animals rich in omega-3s, has taught us a great deal. Traditionally, these native people have had very little cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Japanese, who also consume large amounts of fish, have much lower rates of heart disease and diabetes than Americans. As these populations adopt western eating habits and exercise less, their prevalence of obesity and diabetes soars. Could the onset of diabetes be changed if native people at risk for the disease resumed eating more omega-3 rich foods? Dr. Sven Ebbesson of the University of Virginia sought the answer in a study of 44 Alaskan Inuit who had early signs of diabetes €“ impaired glucose tolerance and excess weight. Inuit were asked to eat fewer foods high in saturated fats and more traditional foods, especially fish and marine animals. After 4 years, not a single person had advanced to type 2 diabetes, in spite of not losing weight. This promising study needs to be confirmed in a larger number of subjects. Omega-3 fatty acids may be particularly beneficial for overweight people with hypertension who are on weight loss diets. Dr. Trevor Mori and colleagues at the University of Western Australia recently showed that people on a weight loss diet that included fat-rich fish daily had improved glucose and insulin metabolism. People on the same diet without fish had no such improvements. Both groups lost the same amount of weight, but blood pressure reduction was greater among the fish eaters than the non-fish eaters. Even in people not losing weight, the inclusion of fish every day reduced blood pressure. Thus, people with diabetes who eat rich fish on a regular basis can boost the benefits of weight loss in improving glucose control and blood pressure. Finally, it has been known for years that omega-3s from fish reduce the likelihood of developing blood clots that lead to heart attacks and stroke. They also improve blood circulation. These benefits have been demonstrated in controlled clinical trials and occur without unfavorable changes in glucose or insulin activity. The American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association advocate eating fatty fish as a safe and effective way to obtain the heart health
benefits of omega-3s. Eating fatty fish regularly is an important strategy to improve health in diabetes.”

salmon and rice salad
salmon and rice salad

The evidence in support of wild salmon is pretty overwhelming. As part of a healthy lifestyle, salmon is an essential weapon in the battle against Type 2 Diabetes!

For more reading about the connections between wild salmon and diabetes, explore the links below…