Sitka-based Alaskans Own seafood delivery service is celebrating 10 years of providing locally caught fish not to Outsiders, but to Alaskans, the majority of whom can’t get their hands on the best fish out there.
“It’s a crazy statistic that one percent of the seafood that is caught in Alaska stays in Alaska, so 99 percent is exported.”
Natalie Armstrong is outreach assistant for Alaskans Own, a Community Supported Fishery project of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association.
The CSF delivery service follows a more well-known agriculture model that bridges the gap “from farm to table.”
“What a CSF does is we’re breaking the gap between ocean to table. So we wanted to create a program that essentially did that and connected the community to their seafood.”
Alaskans Own has over 300 subscribers who from May to October can choose five to 20 pound packages of portioned halibut, salmon, lingcod, shrimp, sablefish and more. The fish is shipped to hubs in Sitka, Anchorage, Seattle, Juneau, and Fairbanks along with out of state bulk orders.
“Anyone can choose which fish they want. They can get a mixed bag or 40 pounds of coho and we can ship it right to their door.”
A local fleet of 100 boats fish for the Alaskans Own CSF. All profits from the fish sales go to the Fishery Conservation Network, an ALFA offshoot that partners fishermen with scientists in local research projects.
Besides Alaskans Own, there are two other fish delivery programs.
Catch 49 is a CSF run by the Alaska Marine Conservation Council and also promotes ‘caught by Alaskans for Alaskans.’
Sitka Salmon Shares connects its Alaska catches to a growing network in the mid-west.
Armstrong is hopeful other Alaska fishing towns will create CSF programs to promote their small boat fleets and protective, sustainable fishing practices.