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Where does the fish you eat come from? Issue #2: Alaskan Leader Pacific Cod

Where do our Alaskan Pacific Cod Loins come from?


At Wild for Salmon, we value the importance of traceability in the fisheries supply chain, which is why we have this blog series to explain exactly where your food comes from. Too often in the modern food system, we lack understanding or connection with what we are eating. If you share this interest in where your food comes from, you’ve come to the right place! 


Raw wild caught pacific cod portion

 Here at Wild For Salmon, we take pride in the fact that we only sell sustainably caught seafood from a trusted, ethical, traceable source. When it comes to salmon, your fillets, portions, cans, and smoked products purchased at Wild for Salmon are all from us aboard the F/V Ava Jane and our fleet of partners in Bristol Bay, Alaska. 


However, in order to bring even more sustainable, healthy, and great-tasting options to our customers across the United States, we have had the pleasure of partnering with like-minded, trusted fishermen over the past 15 years of business. One of those partners is the provider of our Pacific Cod Loins: Alaskan Leader. 

 

 

Who Is Alaskan Leader and how are they catching the Pacific Cod?


In 1991, seven fishing families from the island of Kodiak, Alaska saw an opportunity to bring high-quality Pacific Cod to the American market in a sustainable way. Today, these original seven families are partnered with the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation, each owning 50% of Alaskan Leader and their fleet of four state of the art fishing vessels. The Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation is an Alaska Native-led organization promoting “economic growth and opportunities for residents of its member communities through sustainable use of the Bering Sea resources."


Alaskan Leader, named after the first vessel of the fleet, harvests Pacific Cod in the deep water of the Bering Sea using hook and line, a gear type known for its sustainability. The boats at Alaskan Leader lay out 45miles of line with about 70,000 individually baited hooks. It takes six hours to deploy this gear and eighteen hours to pull it in and harvest each individual fish by hand! 

Fishing for Pacific Cod

Processing of the fish takes place on board so this product is frozen-at-sea within an hour of being harvested. But, it is not just the fishing method that’s sustainable. These boats are built to use 100% of the fish and have been awarded for their sustainable practices onboard! You can explore the fleet of four, state-of-the-art vessels here. 


This Pacific Cod hook and line takes place in the Bering Sea, far offshore - away from the fragile habitat of the seal rookeries. Pacific Cod live close to the bottom of the ocean in deep sea, and in schools; they can grow up to a meter in length! To see the fleet in action in the cold waters and scenic waters - and to hear from one of the captains, check out this short video. 

 

 



Captain Shaun Andrew even shares one of his favorite whitefish recipes (psst it’s not just about Fish & Chips!). 


What is so special about Pacific Cod?


Pacific Cod is famously known as the flaky delicious white fish that pairs perfectly with fries for the classic fish & chips. However! After many years of selling premium Pacific Cod loins and catching up with the good folks at Alaskan Leader, we are excited to share some amazing benefits of Pacific Cod. 


Like all wild seafood sold at Wild for Salmon, Pacific cod is a totally natural, additive-free product; this white fish has a mild flavor and a flaky texture. Pacific Cod is a lean protein option and provides several important B vitamins and minerals like phosphorus and selenium for your body. High in protein and low in calories, the Pacific Cod from our partners at Alaskan Leader is “snow white” due to their stringent quality practices of bleeding on board.  


You may notice at the grocery store that many species of whitefish are so named “cod” - like lingcod and rockcod. Because of the popularity of the Atlantic and Pacific Cod in American history, many similar looking and tasting products are so named cod when they really aren’t cod, the species. This just requires a trusted seafood source, like Wild for Salmon, or careful buying at the seafood counter to make sure you’re getting what you’re looking for! 


Why we love Pacific Cod at Wild for Salmon 


Wild for Salmon would like to take this opportunity to thank the people who crew Alaskan Leader boats in the Bering Sea during the tough winter fishing months in order to bring a tasty, nutritious and sustainable product to our tables. We trust the folks behind this company because of the sustainable investments they’ve made in their fleet and because the operation looks a lot like ours. Sure, the boats are a little bigger (better suited for the Bering Sea elements), but the group of people at Alaskan Leader are family-fishermen similar to those aboard the F/V Ava Jane and fleet in Bristol Bay, Alaska. 


The high expectation of quality, traceability, and trust is the basis of our partnership, and we’re proud to tell you the story behind our Pacific Cod today. 


Fishermen favorites - Best way to eat Alaskan Leader Pacific Cod 


Most fishermen believe in the old adage, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it - us included. So, if a classic fish and chips is what you’re craving, look no further. An order of Pacific Cod Loins and a few local potatoes is all you need for classic and delicious fish and chips. As a customer review from Tim explained, “The cod is very fresh and thick, so even after air frying them they were still soft and juicy. I think I made the best fish and chips with these.” 

Pacific Cod tacos

That being said, we do believe in variety and good meals that leave you feeling energized for the task ahead. These Cod Fish Tacos from our friend at Kim’s Cravings have a few more fresh ingredients that won’t weigh you down but that still pack your plate with good flavor and healthy ingredients. 

 

Finally, Scott at Alaskan Leader shared with us that his favorite Pacific Cod recipe is quick and easy: Pacific Cod loins slathered with a few tablespoons of homemade pesto and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, baked in the oven. Unlike the messy frying of fish and chips, this recipe is a fast weeknight meal that sounds pretty good to us! 




Try our hook-and-line caught Pacific Cod from Alaskan Leader 


The snow-white cod loins of the Bering Sea are an affordable, sustainable option that the whole family can enjoy. Pacific Cod’s mild flavor is easy to work into your regular meal rotation and not too oily that the pickiest kids won’t love it. 


The focus on quality taken by our fishermen partners pays off, and we know you will enjoy the Pacific Cod loins. Order here to try some today and get a taste of what reviewer William had to say, “I have eaten cod for years but until I tried the Wild for Salmon cod I never knew how fresh and delicious cod could be.” 

 

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