Map of Bristol Bay Alaska
Written by Robin Ove

Bristol Bay Sockeye

bb-sockeye-chris_miller
Photo Credit: Chris Miller

Did you know Alaska is the only state whose constitution requires that its fisheries be managed for sustainability?

1879 Alaskan Salmon Canneries
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection, [HAER AK,22-KAKE,1], Whiteley, Tim, creator

Bristol Bay produces more sockeye salmon than anywhere else in the world, and is considered the world’s sockeye salmon capital.

With over 50 million adult sockeye salmon expected to return to Bristol Bay’s icy cold waters this year, this summer is guaranteed to be the Summer of the Sockeye.

Bristol Bay Sockeye, is a program of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, which represents the 1,850 driftnet permit holders of Bristol Bay’s salmon fishery who support science-based management of wild salmon fisheries, and the hundreds of hard-working fishing families who care deeply about the future of this very special place.

A side chair view into the 2015 fishing season is easy if you follow along with Chris Miller, a Bristol Bay commercial fisherman and talented photographer who brought daily photographs from the fishing grounds. Check out the Association's Photo Gallery. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Anchorage Daily News, Alaska Magazine, Newsweek, First Alaskans, People, the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CNN, and various international publications and books.

The seafood lover’s salmon, sockeye (a.k.a. red) is best known for its brilliant red flesh. Packed with Omegas and essential minerals and nutrients, sockeye salmon is one of the highest quality proteins available. With its firm texture, distinct flavor and oil content, sockeye salmon works well in everything from chowder and kebabs to tacos and steaks.

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Photo Credit: Melissa Trainer

Often labeled as “Wild Alaska Sockeye,” Bristol Bay’s sockeye salmon can be found in a wide range of product forms, including: fresh, previously-frozen, frozen fillets and portions, canned, and smoked. Due to Bristol Bay’s extremely remote location and intensely short fishing season (typically around four weeks long), the majority of Bristol Bay’s sockeye salmon is flash-frozen or canned within hours of harvest during the peak of the season. From there it’s shipped to markets around the country and available 365 days a year, making it the ideal year-round wild salmon option.

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Unless otherwise noted, information and images courtesy of Bristol Bay Sockeye, a non-profit organization Sustainable Bristol Bay Sockeye

Note: Wild Salmon is also commercially fished all along the West Coast of the US during the summer, and consumers have many options for finding fresh caught local fish in their area by checking with LocalCatch.org or in California FishLine or just asking your fish monger or restaurant server.

Robin Ove

- Robin E. H. Ove is a founding member and editor with World-Eats.org