Let’s go fishing! Executive Chef Diego Torres gathered his Bon Appétit colleagues at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle to visit the Lummi Island salmon fishery on Lummi Island and learn more about how these prized Pacific Northwest specimens are caught.
The fishery, which partners with the Lummi Nation, has been rated one of the most sustainable fisheries in the world. (It also claims to be the world’s first solar-powered wild salmon fishery and to have one of the lowest bycatch rates.)
The Pacific Northwest has been observing a declining population of resident orca whales, and café guests at Fred Hutch have inquired about the impact of the team’s salmon purchases on the marine mammals. Diego had the opportunity to discuss this with the Lummi contingent. They learned orcas in this region eat Chinook salmon (plus herring, halibut, squid, and rockfish), so Chinook harvest is not allowed. When they’re caught, they’re immediately released.
Diego and his team members got to observe the fish as they headed for the Fraser River, and with some guidance, using a process called reefnet fishing, they strategically drew in and raised the netting to gently roll the salmon into a holding area.
In all, the Bon Appétiters found that they had much in common with the Lummi fisherfolk, including a shared passion for sustainability.
They were grateful for the learning experience and to be able to report back to concerned guests with details about their firsthand visit.
Submitted by Jay Payne, General Manager