Bristol Bay Bulletin
100,000 lbs plus
Posted by : Wild For Salmon /
Two weeks is a long time during a 6-8 week fishing season. Lots has happened since our last bulletin--including but not limited to; Steve gushing about a fresh apple breakfast over text (a midseason boat-meal rarity), a fast and strenuous 100,000 pounds, and the addition of Mark Titus on board.
Let’s start with that first detail; the abundance of fresh, wild salmon is not lost on any fishermen, and each bite in-season is a blessing. It’s what fishermen need to keep going. It is the fuel that keeps our hands moving fast while picking fish out of the net, that allows our brains to process fish news and make the right calls, and keeps us strong. That being said, there are loved and valued food items that are hard to get out on the ocean. The fresh, summer produce most of us are used to enjoying with the warmer weather and longer days is hard to come by in most bush Alaska towns, first of all. Secondly, boat pantries are tiny, and something like fresh spinach or berries isn’t going to last long on the water. Thus, the text that read, “Eating a fresh crisp apple with breakfast. Amazing how good it tastes. Boat food is good but fresh produce is hard to find this season. Go figure!” is a telling one.
The second tidbit, that 100,000 pounds (and counting) that has rolled in the boat since we last talked, is part of one of Bristol Bay’s strongest salmon runs of all time. This has been a historic year in southwest Alaska. On July 12th, the salmon run count moved swiftly past the preseason projection of 41.5 million, and the Nushagak district has historically set a record year for catch. In Egegik, where the Ava Jane crew have spent their summer, the river is also posting high return and harvest numbers. This information may get lost in translation for some of you, but the takeaway is that Bristol Bay filled to the brim with a lot of salmon this year. As a consumer, the hope is that this knowledge will give you pause at the seafood deli case; you will have a lot of choices, but the question is: if there is a plethora of wild, untreated, nutritional salmon being caught in our own domestic economy, why would I buy a farmed substitute? As a fishermen, our takeaway is an affirmation of the pride we feel to work in such a sustainable species of commercial fishing and pride over a successful season. It also means soreness and adrenaline and daydreams about bowls of fresh berries with breakfast as pull up the anchor for the thousandth time.
Steve, captain of WFS and the Ava Jane, with quite a few salmon.
Finally, salmon weren’t the only beings to grace the deck of the boat in the past couple weeks. Mark Titus joined the crew for the first bit of July, and he seems to have brought the fish; clearly, we are lucky to have him aboard for various reasons! He’s a passionate fisherman, but he is also a passionate advocate--exactly the type of people we are excited to share Bristol Bay with. Mark is the creator of The Breach film, a 2014 documentary on the northwest’s wild salmon, which strongly makes a case against Pebble Mine. Mark is a talented storyteller, who also had his camera equipment out on board as much as he could among all the salmon. Stay tuned for glimpses into a salmon season on all our media platforms this winter!
The work of Mark, and many, many others who have taken on Pebble Mine, is only gaining in importance. In the midst of a ridiculously successful salmon season in the region, the EPA is reversing some previous steps taken to defer and halt action on Pebble Mine, a proposed open-pit Copper Mine whose construction could devastatingly affect the ecosystem. Thankfully, there is a 90-day public comment period on this change, and your voice can be heard! Furthermore, continuing to invest in delicious wild salmon is further investing in the protection of the watershed, and we’re very grateful. Thank you for buying wild salmon, thank you for supporting WFS!