Confessions of a Wild Salmon Snob-- I Love Canned Pink Salmon

I am a very privileged seafood consumer. Not only do I live at the entry point of seafood coming from Alaska to the lower 48, but my sons are commercial fishermen, and our family has deep ties to the fishing community. If, for instance, I get a hankering for some local Dungeness crab, I can likely l find someone to throw one my way.

Queen of Fresh Fish

I am very sensitive to any fish that is not fresh or very freshly frozen.

My life has given me no claim to snobbery, but in the area of fresh fish, I may well as be the Queen herself.

This plate hangs on my kitchen wall as a warning to any less-than-fresh-fish that dares enter my kitchen.

As I have access to some of the best fish on the planet, and really an endless supply of canned Alaska salmon, I will choose a can of the lowly pink salmon over sockeye salmon any day. As I explain on my website (, the historic and overwhelming preference for sockeye salmon may have its roots in the way that salmon were once upon a time caught and processed, not because of the inherent superiority of sockeye salmon over pink salmon.

Pink salmon were caught in much greater abundance, and those poor pink salmon at the bottom of a non-refrigerated fish hold, after the end of a very long 20 hour day, were a very sad and gelatinous shadow of its once former self—a self that had navigated thousands of miles of the Pacific Ocean in the course of less than two years to find its way back to its natal stream.

The sockeye, caught in much less abundance, did not often suffer the literal pressure of 75,000 pounds laying over it before canning, and the result was often a much better outcome.  

So, a prejudice, based on then true, but now untrue circumstances, evolved, and most people will say they prefer sockeye salmon, often paying a great deal more for that can of sockeye.

Over the last three decades, things have changed greatly in the Alaska fishing fleet and the vast majority of boats, feature refrigerated circulating seawater holds. The fish that come out of that fish hold look just as fresh as they did when they went in. This has vastly improved the quality of all canned salmon, but it is the pink salmon that has really improved.

Fishing boats of old
Fishing boat of old .....         versus...
Even women run fishing boats today, and are very competitive.

Canned pink salmon is delicious, and I think it responds better to canning than sockeye salmon. We trademarked the term the Smart Al-TUNA-tive because though a good tuna sandwich is hard to beat, a canned pink salmon is even better. It is light tasting and has no slight metallic after taste that I associate with even the highest grade canned tuna.

Canned pink salmon is versatile. A pink salmon cake stands up to frying pan and a little hot oil better than any pork chop, while canned pink salmon, tossed into light summer salad, fits in perfectly at the Queen’s tea.

Ms. Linnea Lotscher of Homer Alaska, enjoying her pink salmon cake...Yum!

Lastly, Alaska pink salmon is an abundant food of the USA. From the catching to the canning, to the selling, the Alaska salmon resource is revered by everyone involved in this great industry.

It is also an industry characterized by small boat family fishing operations. Small boat family fishing operations, like family farms, defend the larger resource like no other..but that is for another blog post.

Stay tuned for some fire and brimstone on that topic!

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.


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. (more…)

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

Shirley enjoying salmon on lemony coleslaw on her front porch.

Shirley enjoying salmon on lemony coleslaw on her front porch.

I do solemnly swear, canned wild Alaska salmon is the best lunch food in the world. Not only is it delicious, eating wild salmon at lunch seems to make for a better day all around. Whether it is the quality of the protein, or the abundant long chain omega3 fatty acids or the high vitamin D, I feel better when I have eaten wild salmon at lunch. Eating canned salmon makes that goal readily achievable. Just open the can! There couldn’t be a better, easier lunch. (more…)

Portrait of Winifred Raber

Winifred Raber, Western Colorado Woman of the West, and Canned Salmon Eater

Canned wild Alaska salmon, humble though it may seem, is one very phenomenal, incredibly nutritious food, with a rich history and a great story. Canned wild Alaska salmon isn't just some food scientist's creation, it is a defining food of our nation's history. (more…)

Remo Lotscher and Andy Zuanich on rocking boat with Canned Salmon

Even Bering Sea fishermen like Remo Lotscher and Andy Zuanich eat canned Alaska salmon

Even in a literal sea of the world's finest and freshest seafood, Alaska fishermen eat canned Alaska salmon. Remo Lotscher and Andy Zuanich of the M/V Primus take plenty of canned Alaska salmon on their longline trips in the Bering Sea. Canned Alaska salmon, both Thinkpink pink salmon and Redhead red salmon, are easy to eat and deliver the highest quality protein for optimal energy when working the long hours on a fishing boat. They eat canned Alaska straight out the can when there isn't time for food preparation. Those are black cod that they are processing fresh on the boat. (more…)

Smiling Jim Zuanich

A smiling Jim Zuanich after eating canned wild Alaska salmon for 23 days in a row

Jim Zuanich ate at least 3.5 ounces of Redhead or Thinkpink a day for 23 days at which time he had his blood mercury levels tested. There was no detectable mercury in his bloodstream. Zuanich also said he loved canned salmon more after he was done with his experiment, reporting that salmon at lunch made for more energy and a happier outlook than with other foods. "Nothing compares for lunch," said Zuanich, skipper of the M/V Marshal Tito.


Portrait of Jim Zuanich

Jim Zuanich tells a good tale...

"Faced with the prospect of a poor salmon season in 1981, I crewed with some friends of mine for the Togiak (western Bristol Bay) herring fishery. The boat, the Ms B Haven and my friends were primarily Bristol Bay salmon fishermen. They told me that during the salmon season the numerous Italian and equally numerous Croatian fishermen were always disparaging each others ethnicity on the radio. Finally, an indignant Italian came back with 'Name me one famous Croatian, I can name famous Italians all day, there's Sinatra.' After a long silence someone returned 'Marshal Tito.' I had no choice but to name a boat after him. I'm glad I'm not Italian, I'd hate to have to fish a boat called the Sinatra." -Jim Zuanich (more…)

Tuna, in our opinion, is still a good food choice given the fact it is nutritious, inexpensive and global fish stocks, with some exceptions, are healthy. Eat tuna with some thought. This lady deliberately went overboard on eating tuna, but the lesson is still a valuable one. My advice to people, particularly if cost is an issue, (as it is for most of us), is to at least supplement tuna consumption with canned Alaska salmon. Cold water fatty fish are so good for us! Cold water fatty fish, such as tuna and salmon are the first specific food ever endorsed by the American Heart Association because it has such a profoundly positive effect upon human health. At Pure Alaska Salmon Company LLC, we encourage the consumption of canned salmon at lunch because we have noticed that a canned salmon lunch makes for a better day all around, and we don’t get that terrible vampire-like craving for sweets at 4 o’clock.

20 Cans 20 Days: Sue Kwon’s Award-Winning Mercury Report – Health, Fitness, and Nutrition.

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