AMCC News

Member Spotlight: Su Salmon Co.

Date Posted: July 31, 2017       Categories: AMCC Blog       Tags: Business Members, Fisheries Conservation, Working Waterfronts

AMCC is thrilled to welcome Su Salmon Co. as our newest business member! Su Salmon Co. is five friends who setnet sockeye and silvers on the Susitna River Delta at the base of the Sleeping Lady. They are Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley’s most local commercial fishery with a twin focus of providing fresh, high quality fish to Alaska residents, and deepening human connection to the Susitna River and Cook Inlet in the process. 

Salmon are picked live from the net, bled, chilled in slush ice, gutted, gilled, kissed and delivered to Anchorage or Talkeetna within 24 hours. They deliver on Tuesdays and Fridays. Ordering is simple – just let them know how many fish you need with a couple days notice. Prices are $6/lb for sockeye and $4.50/lb for silvers. Order online at susalmonco.com, email susalmonco@gmail.com or call Melissa at 907.242.0779. 

Tell us about your connection to the ocean and to Alaska’s wild fisheries. 

We have an obvious literal connection of making money from the salmon resources of Alaska’s coastline, but our being here is a little ironic because at heart we’re river people. Mike and Molly live upstream from Talkeetna on a remote off-grid part of the Su while I (Ryan) live in Anchorage but have spent years as a river sportfishing guide all through salmon country from California to Kamchatka. Yet here we are in the mud of Cook Inlet.

How did you first get started fishing? 

Joshua Foreman_3217We came together a few years ago when the State proposed the colossal Susitna-Watana Dam Project. The Su means a lot to us personally and professionally and the thought of it being choked by a dam was spooky. Public reaction to the dam meanwhile was sort of ho-hum and it surprised us that even though the Susitna is a top 5 salmon-producer and the single most visited watershed in Alaska, people did not jump up to defend it as fervently as they are doing in Bristol Bay with the Pebble Mine, for example, or even on the Kenai recently with the Snow River Dam proposal. We wanted to do something to help boost the Susitna’s cultural cachet. Then, market-wise, there was this funny coincidence of Anchorage and the Mat-Su not having a local commercial salmon source. Finally, we’re all good friends and suckers for camping out on the coast and watching the salmon parade in real time and eating them every day. Su Salmon Co just sort of sprung out of all this.

What is the most rewarding (or challenging) part of your business? 

We started Su Salmon Co with the idea of selling fresh salmon to Alaska residents. But the premise was a little risky. What self respecting Alaskan doesn’t harvest their own salmon? Well it turns our there are a lot! Not everyone is able to get out dipnetting, or they go but have bad luck, or some don’t get off on fishing in the first place. But everyone in Alaska eats salmon and likes to have it in the freezer by fall. Alaskans also inherently know what excellent rather than merely good salmon should look, taste, and feel like. So the most rewarding part of our business is providing people in our communities with that little endorphin buzz that comes with every bite of a perfect wild salmon.

Why do you choose to support AMCC? 

Joshua Foreman_3210Alaska has more coastline than the rest of the US combined. With few people and endless natural resources, we’re rich. To capitalize on it in a meaningful way, though, takes investment and participation in community as much as industry. AMCC seems to get this and we like how their stewardship keeps eyes on the big picture.

What is your most vivid fishing memory, or what do you love most about fishing?

Personally, my initial introduction to Alaska’s amazing salmon resources came from flyfishing. I still think it’s about the most fun you can have. I’d been around commercial fishing a lot growing up but never participated in it directly. So when we laid out the net for the first time in 2015 and fish started hitting it, it was a surprise to recognize the electric rush that came from it as the same exact one you feel when a fish grabs your fly.

How do you celebrate your connection to the ocean as an Alaskan? 

“First fish” bbqs, winter king sushi parties, smoked salmon, shorebird festivals, solstice beach bonfires, taking pictures, telling stories, shrimping, hunting, and a million other ways. The active choice to live in Alaska on the coast is in and of itself a statement of celebration.

What do you see as the biggest threat to Alaska’s small-boat commercial fisherman?

Ryan Peterson_aerialClean environment and commerce are so intertwined in Alaska as to often be indistinguishable from one another. We’re so thankful for the sophisticated, successful fisheries management in Alaska that has protected against over harvest better than anywhere in the world. But it’s the massive threats from outside the fishing industry that are of highest concern. Mining, Damming of rivers, irresponsible logging in fish habitat – if salmon could vote they would vote against these things every time. Then there is ocean acidification driven by global warming–a terrifying problem we are just starting to understand and are all contributing to through our fossil fuel use. In short, the biggest threats to fishing are the same ones facing all life on earth.


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