Pink salmon – Ketchikan Alaska


The Product

General Name: Pink salmon – Ketchikan Alaska


Alternative names: Humpback salmon, Humpies, Sake (sushi)

The fishers

This pink salmon was caught by a fleet of purse seiners operating out of Southeast Alaska: F/V Sydney Jane, F/V Mary Elizabeth, F/V Alaskan, F/V Chirikof, F/V Lovey Joann, F/V Chistopher David, F/V Western Cruiser, F/V Corva May


Port: Ketchikan

Authority: Alaskan Fishing authorities

Seasonal information: The pinks season starts in June and peaks in July and August

The Method

Small Purse Seine Nets

Fish harvesters encircle a large wall of netting around schools of sardines (or other small pelagics) and pull the bottom of the netting closed, like a drawstring purse, to capture the fish. Purse seine boats will often have a rowing boat sized skiff with an outboard engine that is sent out to form and close the circle.  Sardine purse seiners leave their home harbour in the evening to return at dawn as sardines are fished at night when they are feeding closer to the surface.

The Species

Pink salmon

Pinks are unique in that they have a short, two-year lifespan. They are found in streams and rivers from California north to the Mackenzie River, with their principal spawning areas between Puget Sound, Washington, and Bristol Bay, Alaska. Pinks migrate to their home stream from July to October, and while some go a considerable distance upstream, the majority spawns close to the sea. Young Pink fry enter the ocean immediately after they emerge from the gravel in the spring. After a few days to several months in the estuary and near-shore zone, they move out into the open ocean in large schools. Despite their short life and small size, the migrations of Pink salmon are extensive, covering thousands of kilometres from their home streams. While feeding and maturing, Pinks are dispersed throughout the Pacific Ocean from northern California to the Bering Sea. During fall and winter, they spend more time in the southern parts of their range.

The Location:



Eco-ratings/certifications: Marine Stewardship Council – Certified

Resource Management: The Alaska Department of Fish and Game, in conjunction with the Canada-US Pacific Salmon Commission, manages this fishery. Click here for the most recent Salmon Fishery Management Plans.

Local Management: /

Monitoring & Traceability: Fish season is highly controlled with fishing allowed over a limited period during the salmon run to allow sufficient qunatities to get through and lay their eggs. The policing and counting of the fishing is done literally in the middle of the fishing itself.

Conservation Measures: Pink salmon is the largest of 5 commercial salmon species in Alaska. As a fishery based specifically on a “run” – the fishery is managed in quite a unique way: Every day, biologists count the salmon running into each river system as the salmon swim into protected spawning areas. Each commercial fisherman is constantly in contact with the biologists who are informing the fisherman whether or not they may put their nets in the water. All told the Alaskan salmon fishery is very well managed with strict annual catch limits, detailed science, stock levels managed with the precautionary principle in mind, strict monitoring and catch records, limitations of licensed fishing vessels, minimum mesh size and area closures for conservation purposes.

By-catch/discard: The Alaskan salmon fisheries use a number of different fishing methods, fishing is only deployed during the salmon run itself so in very short time periods, it is highly selective and targetted.

Endangered Species: No interaction from the salmon fishery

Eco-system damage: None

How is it made?

The vast majority of chilled or fresh salmon is farmed salmon. Wild salmon is nutritionally superior with less saturated fat, more minerals and vitamins and more Oemga 3 and that’s because wild salmon is not couped in a very small space. It feeds naturally, a high quality wild diet and not price-determined feed pellets; it is not doused in treatments to stop disease and dyed a different colour to make it look appealing.

Production: Packed and cooked in the can – this method is better from a nutritional point of view but can leave a slight cooked white egg-like substance in the tins. Nothing added, the oil you see in the water

Social factors: Fishing licenses are widely and equitably distributed to local small scale fishers from Alaska. Gillnet boats are small, often crewed by family members. Processed and packed in the USA.

Political factors: Yes – why on earth did Alaska vote for Trump – it seems like such a nice place! Oh well you can’t be perfect…