September 30, 2021

Why Our Salmon: Traceability

Why Our Salmon: Traceability

We take pride in following our wild salmon from the point of harvest to your door. To do so, we collaborate with Leader Creek Fisheries, utilizing their coding, sorting, and inventory technology. Each 10lb or 20lb case of wild, Bristol Bay Sockeye fillets or portions are marked with the name of one of the five Bristol Bay fishing districts in which they were harvested, as well as a map that provides a visual representation of these districts. This ensures a level of traceability that is absolutely unprecedented. You can learn more about Bristol Bay itself and our role within this incredible watershed by clicking here. Read on to learn about our confidence in traceability of our sockeye fillets and portions from Bristol Bay, Alaska.   

Bristol Bay Sockeye from the river to your plate in five steps 

1. Step One: The fish are harvested aboard a 32’ boat - called a ‘Drift Gillnetter’ - in the salty seas of Bristol Bay, Alaska for Leader Creek Fisheries. Boats like F/V Ava Jane (captained by Pride of Bristol Bay Owner Steve Kurian) choose to partner with Leader Creek Fisheries specifically due to the fact that it is a small-scale fleet dedicated to top quality sockeye salmon.

As shown in this photo, all sockeye salmon fishermen in Bristol Bay use gillnets to harvest our catch. Once aboard, the fish are bled to ensure the best quality of the fish and immediately cooled to below 38 degrees using a refrigerated seawater system. 

2. Step Two: The fish begin their journey to the processing plant, via a larger boat called a tender. 

Within just a few short hours from the time of harvest, the fish are then transferred to a boat with a larger refrigerated seawater system via a crane and brailer bags, which are specifically made and packed in order to not damage the quality of the fillet. This is where the fish are coded by fishing district and time of catch. At this point, our captains swipe their Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission-issued permit card - just like you do your credit card at the grocery store. This step tracks each sale of fish back to the captain, their boat, and the river in which it was caught. 

3. Step Three: At the processing plant the fish are filleted, pin-boned and vac-packed by experts in the field. 

The fish are welcomed at the processing plant after arriving via the tender, where the fish were kept at temperature thanks to a constantly running refrigerated seawater system. The plant is operated by our partners in quality, Leader Creek Fisheries. To learn more about Leader Creek and our shared commitment to quality, you can watch Steve’s Instagram Live with their team, here. At the processing plant, each fish is filleted, pin-boned and vac-packed by experts in the field. Once in the vac-pack, the fish are labeled with the data collected aboard the tender: the river where they were harvested. Finally, your product is flash frozen using advanced technology that locks in quality; you can read more about the main advantages to flash freezing here

4. Step Four: Using trusted shipping operators, the flash-frozen fish is shipped to one of our two cold storage facilities.

Product for our customers is stored in one of our three shipping distribution points, located in Kansas City, MO, Stockton, CA and at our sister company, Wild for Salmon in central Pennsylvania in order to best serve all of the lower 48 states. As such, depending on where you have your salmon delivered within the U.S., you may see one of these locations as the sender on your case (rather than Alaska, where the fish were originally caught and harvested). Storing at each of these facilities shortens the length of time each case of salmon travels and increases how long it is frozen for, therefore ensuring our wild Alaskan salmon arrives as frozen as possible to your door. To preserve freshness, the freezers at these locations are kept at temperature well below freezing and well below your home freezer. 

5. Step Five: Fish is shipped to you! 

Each week, your direct-to-door fish orders are packed with dry ice and the best eco-friendly liner option available to ensure that it arrives at your door frozen via FedEx, UPS or OnTrac (west coast only), depending on which option will work best for your particular delivery location.

We allow up to 3 days for shipping from one of our cold storage facilities to your door. Although infrequent delays from our shipping carriers do happen, we provide a 100% guarantee for any spoiled product, meaning a full refund or product replacement. Please use the checklist below to determine if your product is spoiled.

Due to today’s very fragile global supply chain, the type of top quality, eco-friendly liner we prefer to use may differ from the one used in your friend’s case in another area. While these liners may vary, you can be sure that each option we provide is of the highest quality to keep your fish frozen for the journey to your front door! 

If you are unable to receive shipments from one of the three carriers we use, please contact us so we can find another solution to send your wild Alaskan salmon to you.

How to confirm my salmon shipment is ready for the freezer (Checklist):

Product arrives frozen with dry ice in the box: 

The product is completely safe to put in the freezer and use after disposing of the dry ice!
Please be sure to handle the dry ice properly in order to dispose of it. Click here to review information on dry ice safety from the CDC.

Dry ice has completely sublimated, but product is still frozen: 

The product is completely safe to put in the freezer and use!
 As the case makes its way to you, the dry ice within the box will sublimate, but the salmon will remain frozen and top quality for the entire journey due to our packing techniques. 

Product is thawed along edges upon arrival: 

The product is perfectly safe to refreeze in order to cook and use at a later date!
Thanks to the specific packing technique we have developed over the years, your product should remain frozen in the core/center of each fillet or portion, making it completely safe to keep for enjoyment at a later date. For peace of mind, you can check the temperature of the thawed salmon, which should be under 40 degrees regardless. Thawing will not degrade the quality of your fish.

Product is completely thawed upon arrival: 

Immediately check the temperature of the product.

If the product is 40 degrees or below: It is safe to refreeze and use at a later date!

If the product is above 40 degrees: It is not safe to consume and should be discarded.
Should this unfortunate situation occur with your product, we ask that you first take photos of the spoiled product and then reach out to our team immediately to let us know. We provide a 100% guarantee, meaning a full refund or product replacement.  Once you have notified us, dispose of the product and await your full refund or new shipment of wild salmon at no additional cost.


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