When I was around 10 years old, my family was visiting my grandparents in Montello, Wis., (pop. 5,000). Family legend has it that my grandma sent me to the store for bread, butter and a dozen eggs. I walked to the little store on the corner of 1st and Main, bought the groceries, and proudly presented them to her. Mission accomplished. When she unpacked them, she was horrified to see that I had bought margarine instead of butter. I received a stern lecture on supporting Wisconsin dairy farmers, including all my uncles, and was sent back to the store to exchange the offending product for real Wisconsin butter. (If memory serves me, she was so mortified that she asked me not to tell the store manager who I was.)
The world is awash in farmed salmon. Cheap imports, particularly into the United States and Japan, have lowered the prices for all salmon. But the salmon farms are not communities. They are conglomerates who own everything from the smolts to the pens to the plant. When the price goes down, they just pump out more salmon. At ASMI, we market all the great qualities of our wild salmon and we believe that the tide is turning somewhat back in favor of wild salmon. But, in the meantime, farmed salmon is a formidable competitor.
Will asking local stores not to carry farmed salmon keep the farmers awake nights? No. But it does show solidarity behind an industry that is an integral part of Alaska's past and present and I'm all for it.
Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute
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