Mission Statement for Alaska Select Seafood
SOURCE is an educational campaign and a sea-to-plate movement; reconnecting American consumers to American seafood, American Fishermen, and American sustainability.
SOURCE is the brainchild of Captain Nick Lee, a veteran commercial fisherman and industry insider. Nick has seen the industry through what he calls “the dark days”--a period when low standards for practices contributed to the near crash of the Bristol Bay wild salmon fishery. Nick was a propelling force in a network of independent fishermen who took on the task of holding their own industry accountable for higher standards in order to save it.
Progress can be slow coming for some--not everyone has climbed onboard. Choosing quality over soley quantity pressures outdated practices to get with the program, creating a cleaner and clearer industry for us all.
For many decades, Bristol Bay was known as the “wild west” of commercial fishing. While in many ways it remains as “wild” as ever, the revolutionized practices brought about by these entrepreneurs has saved the frontier from self-annihilation.
Yet the revolution must extend beyond familiar waters.
There is only so much a single fisherman, or a fleet, or even a fishery can do to get a healthy catch on your plate. Once the fish leaves the boat, it is potentially subjected to further mishandling and can get mixed up in a new sea of mislabeling--from outright false identification to convoluted terms developed by an industry trying to hide its skeletons.
Terms like Fresh, Refresh, Previously Frozen, Hand-crafted, Healthy and Sustainable all have hidden meanings, or no meaning at all.
This confusion may seem innocuous at first, but the underlying consequences of consumer disconnect includes systematic fraud, the waste of valuable resources, endorsing poor working conditions and even human slavery, antibiotic abuse, and eco-destruction.
(This restaurant’s dinner special lists ‘Wild’ Atlantic Salmon, yet there are no wild Atlantic Salmon fisheries today. All Atlantic Salmon that you see in grocery stores or restaurants is farmed.)
Alaska Select aims to help clear the murky waters of the seafood industry, so that consumers can know what story they are buying (and biting) into.
Leading a fight up river
Fishermen are notoriously stubborn. They must believe that each year the fish will return in abundance--that they will feed their families, pay their bills, and be reminded of who they are once more.
Nick has come to apply his stubbornness and grit to the bigger picture. Just as he is the last fisherman to leave the water every year, Nick will carry on his mission with SOURCE to positively impact the seafood industry until it reflects the integrity he believes is not only possible, but necessary, for our future.