How could the 25-year old Miami-raised me standing on the bow of a glacier cruise in Alaska with my parents, bundled up with frost forming in our nostrils, know that one day in the future I’d be married to a proud Alaskan, and regularly touting the many virtues of this great state? How could I have known then, as I watched the massive and majestic tail of a humpback whale slap the surface of the dark and icy waters that one day those very waters would become such a significant anchor point of my whole life?
Everyone is aware of the fact that Alaska is a vast and gorgeous naturescape replete with wildlife, scenery and a lifestyle linked directly to the soul of the earth, sky and sea. But what many might not know is that Alaska maintains some of the world’s best sustainably-managed fisheries and has established the gold standard on seafood sustainability. In fact, conservation is so deeply etched into the state’s DNA that it’s even written into its very constitution.
And what’s written is put into practice in some very real ways. For example, scientists and biologists monitor fishing periods closely to ensure the populations in each area are allowed to reproduce. Or salmon counters (actual people!) work during the harvest season to make sure there’s plenty of escapement to support the local ecosystem. These fishery technicians, and sometimes even biologists, are strategically positioned at weirs with instructions to click the button of their small, hand-held counter for each passing fish. Counting towers and sonar are also traditional ways fish counts are measured, and exciting new technology like “environmental DNA” is also being tested. These are just a couple of the many directives put forth by Alaska in which we strongly believe.
Luckily, people are increasingly starting to understand the power and import of Alaska’s effective management of fisheries. A recent study by the University of Washington says that worldwide, “stocks that are scientifically monitored” are “increasing in abundance,” and “effective management appears to be the main reason these stocks are at sustainable levels or successfully rebuilding.”
Articles such as this only solidifies our core belief in the power of proper management when it comes to fisheries and sustainable seafood. Here are some more of my favorite quotes from the piece:
- “There is a narrative that fish stocks are declining around the world, that fisheries management is failing and we need new solutions — and it’s totally wrong.”
- “Fish stocks are not all declining around the world. They are increasing in many places, and we already know how to solve problems through effective fisheries management.”
- “This really gives credibility to the fishery managers and governments around the world that are willing to take strong actions.”
The bottom line is that Alaska will always have your back when it comes to being the optimal source of sustainable seafood. And at Wild Alaskan, the guidelines and protocols set by the state give us great confidence in knowing that the fisheries with whom we work strictly harvest only what nature provides, and not what humans demand.
Pictured above: A moment of pause on the breathtaking Seward Highway, when I was reminded of the mystical soul of this great “land of many uses.”