The Alaska Salmon Run Is On & You Can See It At Wholefoods UK
July is an incredibly exciting time for food production in the Northern Hemisphere. Summer weather brings many farm crops to their peak in abundance and flavour. Viticulture harvest commences and pasture-fed livestock graze on grass and herbal lays. In the ocean, one of the most awe inspiring feats of marine migration is also happening – the Alaska salmon run.
The salmon run is vital to the Alaska fishing industry and the ecology of thirty-four-thousand miles of Alaskan coastline. The salmon not only represent economic success for fishing communities of Alaska, it’s an important part of the ecosystem that tens of millions of wild marine life rely on for their survival.
Mature, wild salmon swim an arduous path from the saltwater ocean and ‘run’ up the freshwater inlets and rivers of Alaska. This typically starts in late May and continues until the end of September. King, Chinook and sockeye species will make this run at different times through these months.
It’s called a ‘run’ because millions of salmon sprint up these waterways and freshwater bays, typically against the tide. It’s a 300 mile ‘race’ to return to their birthplace to spawn. It’s also on this journey that Alaskan fishers make their most abundant catches.
The fish will not stop to feed during the run. Instead, they spend weeks building fat stores before leaving the saltwater ocean. Which is why the salmon is considered at their ‘peak’ for flavour and condition when caught in Alaskan waters.
There’s no hyperbole when fishermen talk about ‘millions’ of salmon. In a recent report published by ASMI, the 2022 sockeye salmon forecast is expected to break records with a forecasted harvest of 74 million fish. And that is just the sockeye species harvest.
While this salmon migration is important to the commercial success of the Alaska fishing industry and the families it supports, there are restrictions and sustainability quotas to ensure the salmon have a fair chance to reach their breeding ground. Sustainability has always been a part of Alaska fishermen’s way of working: careful management of fish stock and limitations on fishing participation guarantees the future of their historic industry.
If you’re keen to learn more or try Alaska’s salmon catch, we suggest heading to your nearest Wholefoods. This month, Alaska salmon has taken over the windows of Wholefood’s Kensington High Street. It’s all to celebrate the peak of the salmon run and inspire foodies to try their very own Alaska salmon catch!