As we look toward spring, we’re grateful for Alaska’s seafood and the incredibly important role it plays in feeding Alaskans, our guests, and our visitors a perfect protein. As a hotelier and restaurateur — running the Captain Cook Hotel, Snow City Café, Spenard Roadhouse, South Restaurant, and Crush Bistro — we are particularly aware of just how much work, investment, and logistics it takes to get wild Alaska seafood to people’s tables, across Alaska, and around the world.
Alaska is a state rooted in fisheries. We’re known for our world-class fisheries, our high-quality seafood, and the tenacity of our fishermen. It’s hard to find an Alaskan who hasn’t been touched by the seafood industry, from commercial fishing families to those frequenting restaurants around the state.
With the height of the primary fishing and tourist seasons on the horizon, Alaskans should feel proud of our fish and those that harvest, process, and serve it, when they see Alaska seafood in grocery stores and restaurants — and we do. It truly takes an entire state to keep the responsible harvest of Alaska seafood running. This awe-inspiringly complex system and supply chain, from family-owned vessels to shoreside processors to restaurant and lodging operations like ours, requires a commitment to quality and sustainability, not to mention lots of effort from a multitude of people to successfully pull it off.
Whether on the water or in the restaurant, every season has its ups and downs, and the only thing you can count on is change. However, our industry is adaptive by nature, and there’s a lot to be proud of from the past year. Not only did we see the return to full-service operations, serving more wild Alaska seafood at our restaurants to both locals and visitors alike, but we also saw record-breaking harvests in Bristol Bay, with nearly 300 million pounds of sockeye — the largest harvest since commercial fishing began in 1883.
This past year also saw other iconic fisheries face challenges and changes, with our menus and offerings following suit. One of Alaska’s strengths is that its incredible diversity of fisheries, and fishing communities are committed to understanding and responding to these changes. Our state is full of supporters of healthy fish, healthy fisheries, and healthy economies, and this gives us confidence in the future. Especially throughout the past few years impacted by the covid-19 pandemic, the Alaska seafood industry has proven its role in sustaining economic resiliency, supporting small businesses like ours in communities throughout the state.
We’re already looking forward to the coming year and the excitement of each season’s unique catch. While many fisheries across the state have wrapped up as we hunker down for winter, others are just getting started, and in truth, Alaska’s seafood industry contributes to the economic stability of Alaska year-round. We value and cherish Alaska’s commitment to the highest quality, responsibly-harvested Alaska seafood, a key contributor to our success.
As 2023 dawns, join us in taking a moment to step back to appreciate the coordinated harvest and distribution of wild food that feeds Alaskans and the world with such a world class and delicious product. Whether you’re cooking fresh-caught Alaska seafood in your own kitchen, picking some up from your local grocery store or ordering in your local restaurant, you are a part of a broader community, joined together through Alaska’s seafood.