First and foremost

According to the report, Alaska’s salmon fisheries provided the most jobs. That the state’s salmon industry has rebounded so strongly from the woes it experienced in the early part of the decade is worth saluting.

About 10 years ago, the state’s wild-caught fisheries were reeling from the onslaught of farmed salmon that flooded global markets. But savvy branding campaigns that touted the quality and flavor of wild-caught salmon plucked from Alaska’s pristine waters have helped the industry regain its footing in the world market. Likewise, they’ve improved handling practices and are delivering a higher quality product that can command higher prices.

The article notes that in 2007, the most recent year complete figures are available, Alaska harvesters landed some 950 million pounds of salmon, the state’s third highest total in 27 years. Better still, the salmon were worth nearly $417 million — the highest value seen in eight years.

Whether the global economic malaise will allow Alaska fishermen to continue to enjoy such lofty gains in the year ahead remains to be seen. But fishermen around the country have taken notice of the value of branding initiatives and are finding ways to replicate that success.

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