Today I chatted with Maddie O'Laire, the owner of Smart Source Seafood in Homer, Alaska about sustainable seafood. Smart Source sells a few types of salmon, cod and halibut directly to customers in the US. The fish are fresh frozen right after they are harvested and then shipped out.
Maddie and her husband Mike started the company about 3 years ago when the business opportunity came up. Mike was a commercial fisherman before starting the company and had been fishing for over 15 years. Salmon is a plentiful resource in Bristol Bay and Maddie and her family cherish the fish they catch - nothing is wasted after they process the fish for sale.
I was thrilled to learn that Alaskan fisheries were heavily regulated by the government, setting an example for the rest of the world in sustainable seafood.
When I asked Maddie what sustainable seafood/fishing meant to her, she said that first of all fisheries have to be managed well. There has to be regulations so that there will be enough fish for future generations. Beyond this, Maddie told me that fishing is a lifestyle and an identity for her family. She hopes that her children will be able to continue this livelihood in the future. For her, sustainability also means that her salmon business will have longevity and prosperity.
When I asked her about the recent wild salmon tapeworm articles that I've been reading online, she didn't seem too concerned. "Salmon has always had tapeworms...but they usually stay in the gut of the fish. If they've been handled properly, the rest of the fish shouldn't be affected. If you cook the fish, the tapeworms will die anyway."
"What about radiation or mercury in salmon?" I asked.
"Well the Alaskan government checks the radiation levels frequently here so there's really no concern of that. In terms of mercury, salmon is probably the fish with the lowest levels of mercury because they eat krill and plankton mostly...compared to halibuts that like to eat crustaceans and other fish...In Alaska, they even encourage pregnant women to eat wild caught salmon!"
Maddie loves to help her customers discover the joy of salmon. It brings her such happiness to see that customers love her product and benefit from the nutrients of quality salmon.
I can't wait to try some of her fish for Salmon Tales in July!
If you want to order some for yourself in the meantime, check out Smart Source Seafood and order some delicious salmon.