A fishing family in the Gulf of Alaska

Facts & figures

Sockeye salmon
follows soon
2014
Cook Inlet, Alaska (USA)
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Cook Inlet

Along a branch of the Gulf of Alaska you’ll find the small village of Kasilof, surrounded by rough nature with tall pine trees and lakes with surfaces smooth as glass. Ever since the ‘90s, the Chase Family spent the summer on the coast of the Cook Inlet. They are one of many fishermen who fish for sockeye salmon from open fishing boats.

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The fishery in Cook Inlet was founded in the 1930s, when a Finnish emigrant started the company. In the following years the company’s owner often changed, and in 1993 Brian, Elizabeth, Aaron, Caleb and Hannah Chase became the owners. They gave new life to the company and are, up and till this day, working closely with the Alaskan government to make sure that seafood is caught as fair as possible. Because there’s one thing that’s very important to the Chase Family, and that’s the environment.

Fishing method

The Chase Family fishes with floating gillnets that they lay out in the morning with open fishing boats and they use the floaters to create a wall. When the salmon swims against those little walls, they retract the nets.

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Between the end of June to mid-August the salmon swim by the coast of the peninsula Kenai on their way to the Kasilof-river. The state of Alaska meticulously notes how many fish swim up the river to lay their eggs, and only if enough fish have passed, fishing is allowed. This way the catch remains in healthy balance with the fish data.

Southern peninsula

Kasilof is on the Kenai-peninsula, an area in the south of Alaska that’s known for its rough and rich nature. Not many people live here: the population of the village is about 500-600 people. The peninsula is surrounded by Cook Inlet on one side and the Gulf of Alaska on the other side.

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Wild sockeye salmon

The sockeye salmon from Cook Inlet is an anadromous fish. This means that in summertime, it swims from the sea up the stream in the Kasilof-river to lay eggs. That’s hard work, so before their trip, the fish fills its belly with plankton and little shrimps (that’s where they get that gorgeous deep red color from). When the Chase Family catches the fish, it’s at its fattiest - and bursting with flavor!

“Preparing fresh salmon on an open flame is the best there is.”

For his whole life, fisherman Brian lives in Kasilof during salmon season, nowadays with his wife and two kids. Off-season he lives in Seattle and works for the American Coast Watch. He loves cooking for his family, and prefers to use an open flame. “Make sure that the salmon is cooked, but still juicy, and serve it with lemon juice, chopped garlic and a sprinkle of sea salt. Pure and natural - naturally delicious!”

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