Core to our mission here at EcoFish is to help support fishing communities that are harvesting sustainably. Many people think of large multi-national companies when they think of seafood, but what most people don't realize is there are thousands upon thousands of families fishing small boats all around the globe.
In the ten plus years since we started EcoFish, we have made it a priority to forge out around the country and beyond to visit these families, so we can share their stories with you. From Alaska to Florida and Oregon to Wisconsin, there are family operations, wild and aquaculture, which depend on our support to carry on their tradition.
In Alaska, there are many families that spend the summer trolling for salmon. We have met salmon fishing families where their young children fish along-side their parents and receive a portion of the catch for a college savings account!
We have also met families in Alaska that spend the season on remote islands amongst brown bears, harvesting salmon using shore fixed gillnets. To visit them, we boarded a seaplane in Kodiak and set down in a cove near Shelikof Straight. They have been coming here for years, and their children hope to carry on the tradition. We've stayed at remote fish camps on Bristol Bay, learned about their way of life, and shared stories around a huge table, feasting on sockeye salmon caught that day.
On the coast of Oregon there is a fleet of boats that troll for Albacore Tuna, many of these boats are "freezer boats" meaning they have blast freezers on board and within minutes after being caught the tuna is in the hold being quickly frozen to -40 degrees. This premier handling means the finished product is superior. Sashimi Grade. We were lucky enough to meet many of the fleet because it was stormy and they were in port!
Why is all this important?
Core to the health of coastal communities is a vibrant and sustainable fishery. Like family farms across the country, traditional fishing communities are disappearing, threatened by large corporate factory farming. EcoFish's goal is to help support these local fishing economies by purchasing their sustainable catch, helping the tradition to be passed on to the next generation.
Supporting these fishing communities goes hand-in-hand with our sustainability mission, because often times small-scale family fishers are also using much more sustainable fishing techniques than large corporations. Additionally, many small-scale family fishers live in the communities they fish from, which enables our money to be left in those communities, supporting their way of life. When possible, we also strive to have their catch processed in their community, which allows the jobs from the added value to stay there. We also seek out Fishermen's Co-ops, where the fishers own the business, and profits stay with them.
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