by Randy Hartnell
Sockeye salmon is our most popular product … and Nass River sockeye ranks among the richest and most flavorful to be found!
Most of the Nass River sockeye caught by the indigenous Nisga'a Nation of northwest Canada stays with the tribe or is sold around their ancestral lands in British Columbia.
But we were lucky enough to secure a limited supply of this unusually fatty, flavorful sockeye during a recent trip north to Nisga'a country.
Nass River sockeye struggle to reach spawning grounds hundreds of miles upstream, so these fish instinctually strive to accumulate ample fat during their lives at sea ... more fat than most sockeye store.
Click here to see video from Randy Hartnell's recent trip to the Nisga'a Nation fish wheels on the Nass River.
You'll also get glimpses of the small-scale, hands-on process that yields our succulent, skinless-boneless Nass River sockeye portions.
Better yet, the native Nisga'a people harvest Nass River sockeye using “fish wheels” … a sustainable method in use before Europeans arrived, which preserves their sockeye's rich, fresh-caught quality.
The Nisga'a fish wheels gently scoop migrating salmon into big baskets as they swim upstream, and slip into a holding bin under the wheel's axle, called a “live well”.
The salmon are quickly bled, iced, and trucked into Prince Rupert, B.C. to be cleaned. They're then re-packed in fresh ice and trucked south to our Bellingham, Washington base for final processing.
Whether you cook this spectacular fish or serve it as sushi, our Nisga'a Nation sockeye tastes as fresh as if you'd caught, cleaned, and iced a fish in the afternoon, and enjoyed it the same night!
|About the Nisga'a Nation|
The native Nisga'a people of northwestern British Columbia live on the Nass River, just south of the Alaskan border. The Nisga'a community numbers about 6,000 people.
The Nass Valley is the heart of their traditional homeland, and hosts four villages amid valleys, creeks, majestic mountains, and spectacular waterfalls.
The Nisga'a calendar revolves around harvesting of foods, and their word for the August season is “Wii Hoon”, meaning Great Salmon, when many are harvested.
Your purchase of rare, wheel-caught Nisga'a sockeye supports this native nation's efforts to preserve its culture and self-sufficiency.