Vital Choice salmon are harvested in a variety of ways, including hook and line ("troller"), gill net, and purse seine.
In all cases our salmon spend their lives as nature intended and are only caught under strict fishery management guidelines as they approach the end of their natural life cycle.
Pacific salmon are typically caught as they migrate back from the ocean toward their freshwater spawning grounds. Those that do escape to spawn will die shortly thereafter.
Our silver salmon (coho salmon; Oncorhynchus kisutch) and king salmon (Chinook salmon; Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) are typically troll (hook and line) caught.
Vital Choice sockeye salmon (red salmon; Oncorhynchus nerka) are harvested with nets. because sockeye eat primarily plankton and krill, so tend not to strike a lure (baited hook).
The two primary fishing methods for harvesting sockeye salmon are purse seining and gill netting.
The manner in which harvested fish die depends upon the gear used to harvest them.
- A troller will typically stun and bleed the fish immediately after removing it from the water.
- Gill net and purse seine caught fish will succumb quickly from lack of oxygen after leaving the water.
As Dr. Tina Wellman wrote in Total Health magazine, "If ever there was a humane way of harvesting animal protein for human consumption it would be Alaska's commercial salmon fisheries..."
Once brought aboard the particular vessels, the fish are chilled in slush ice or refrigerated sea water and transported to shore-side processing plants, where they are transformed into the various canned and frozen products.
The type of gear used to land sockeye salmon has a much lower impact on quality than other factors, including harvest timing, harvest region, onboard handling, and the time from harvest to flash-freezing.
At Vital Choice we select sockeye from regions, fishers, and processors known to produce salmon that rank high among the finest available.