As one of nature’s original health foods, Alaska salmon is wholesome while being compatible with caring for the environment. Alaska salmon freely swim in the cold, clean waters of the North Pacific, allowing them to spawn, grow and mature at a natural rate. As a result, the salmon have a natural flavor, color and texture.
On September 5, 2000, the first United States fishery and the world’s largest – the Alaska Salmon fishery- was certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) as well managed and sustainable. The recognition was given due to the good stewardship of Alaska, its processors and fisherman in managing its resources for sustainable yield.Sustainable Criteria
The certification recognizes the high quality and fundamental conservation strengths of Alaska’s salmon management program. To achieve this certification, the Alaska Salmon Fishery had to meet three conditions:
- The number of salmon harvested must be relative to the number that can be replenished naturally. These species must be caught ethically as well.
- Second, the fishery should be managed to ensure the health and diversity of the marine ecosystem.
- Lastly, the fishery must adhere to all laws and regulations for responsible and sustainable fishing.
Alaska’s salmon management program is implemented throughout Alaska statutes, regulations and policies. It assures that each stock and fishery throughout the State is monitored regularly and any management or conservation deficiencies are identified and addressed through management, research, or regulatory action.
Steps to Ensure Alaska Salmon are Sustainable
Alaska is committed to escapement goal management in which harvests are restricted to ensure spawning escapement needs are met. Allowing safe passage to the spawning grounds is the highest salmon management priority. Other steps include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Local biologists monitor returning salmon using the following methods: aerial surveys, weirs, streamside counting towers, fish wheels, sonar, test fisheries and feedback from fisherman.
- Based on the salmon count, managers open and close fisheries on a daily basis to ensure spawning escapements are adequate to sustain production.
- During the salmon season, biologists assess the returns at key streams and rivers to make sure that spawning salmon are allowed to "escape" to their home streams in sufficient numbers to produce future generations.
- Alaska’s habitat conservation laws and regulations provide clean, free-flowing waterways that are vital to abundant, sustainable salmon production. Strict laws prohibit activities such as road building, logging and mining near streams in order to protect vital salmon spawning and rearing areas.
- There is constant monitoring and regulation regarding the discharge of pollutants to ensure high water quality in marine and fresh waters.
- Alaska also opted for no dams in order to protect the wild salmon from the drainage areas, which will help to sustain salmon resources for future generations.
Alaska’s fishing industry is the second largest revenue-producing industry in Alaska. The State is the top producer of wild, high-value salmon and approximately 95 percent of all commercially caught salmon in the U.S. are harvested in Alaska.
Salmon also play a critical role in creating sustainable economic opportunities. Thousands of jobs are made available due to the salmon industry. Commercial fishing is critical to communities and fishing families throughout Alaska.
Alaska Seafood: General Nutrition Information
The nutritional benefits of Alaska Salmon can – and, in fact, do – fill volumes. In addition to providing an excellent source of high quality protein that’s low in saturated fat, Alaska Seafood is rich in many essential vitamins and minerals.
Alaska Seafood is "smart for the heart". Traditional Asian, Mediterranean and Greenland Eskimo diets are rich in seafood. These populations have a discernibly lower incidence of cardiovascular disease. The average life expectancy in Japan - where seafood is a major part of the diet is 79.
Naturally high in many essential vitamins, Alaska Seafood contains vitamins E, C, D and A. Some varieties are very high in antioxidant E, which has proven to strengthen the immune system and lower the risk of heart disease by reducing buildup of plaque in coronary arteries. Current studies reveal possible protection against cancer and the formation of cataracts.
Alaska salmon for example, offers exceptional nutrition. It is high in its concentration of Omega 3 oils, now proven to substantially reduce the risk of coronary disease. Omega 3 has also proven to be beneficial in the treatment and prevention of many other diseases.
Scientific research has proven that certain fats can be healthy and actually help the human body fight against cancer and heart disease. For years, studies have shown that Omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood like salmon, can help lower blood cholesterol levels. Now, aggressive medical studies are showing that fish oils, including Omega-3, alter the production of an important group of biological compounds know as elcosaniods. These compounds affect blood pressure, blood clotting, inflammation, immune function and coronary spasms.
Omega-3 Fats are Healthy
Alaska salmon is rich in Omega-3 oils. Scientists have known for years that Omega-3 offers heart-healthy benefits including:
Helping to decrease blood lipids (cholesterol, LDL’s and triglycerides)
Reducing blood clotting factors
Increasing relaxation in larger arteries and blood vessels
Decreasing the inflammatory processes in blood vessels
Additionally, the Omega-3 oils found in certain types of seafood including Alaska salmon, have been linked to improvements in or prevention of, certain kinds of cancer, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, arthritis, asthma, certain types of mental illness, depression and lupus.
Sources of Omega-3
The preferred choice for Omega-3 consumption is from eating seafood because the fat is better absorbed by the body and it comes with many other nutrients. Many modern diets aren’t high enough in Omega-3 oils to realize optimum health benefits. That’s why various types of seafood should be included in weekly diets.
Regular seafood meals could include salmon, which is particularly high in these "good fats". In addition, Sockeye salmon has the highest amount of Omega-3 of any fish with approximately 2.7 grams per 100 gram portion. Therefore, just one serving of Alaska salmon per week can help to lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease (Courtesy of Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute).