The 2017 Bristol Bay sockeye season was one for the books! With the fourth largest harvest on record and a return that blew the ADF&G’s preseason forecast out of the water, salmon more than ever is our livelihood. I feel I have spoken at length regarding why salmon is so important, but I find I can never say enough. It brings our community together and kindles relationships each season, all while nourishing our bodies in a broad assortment of ways.
August 10th is Alaska Wild Salmon Day, an official state holiday thanks, in part, to Bristol Bay’s own Rep. Bryce Edgemon. I can think of no better way to celebrate than to share with you some photos my dear friend Will took this spring around the Dillingham boatyard as well as a few favorite Bristol Bay links encompassing what salmon is to me…
Salmon is love and tradition. The way it weaves itself through our lives is exemplified in Apayo Moore’s Salmon Love story. Her passion for art and life in Bristol Bay is unparalleled – scope her hashtag #inspiredbybristolbay for your own inspiration.
Salmon is a source of pride. This summer the Nushagak District catches smashed records and swamped boats. The F/V Okuma had the Bay in full envy with the sets they hauled in. Each year I am thankful for the hard work our biologists do in ensuring a robust and sustainable fishery.
Salmon is generational. My husband Bronson is a third generation Bristol Bay commercial fisherman. Our young children have already spent time on the deck of the F/V Sea Breeze and work every summer at our subsistence set net site. Bronwyn headed out for her first solo commercial fishing silver salmon trip with her Papa a few tides ago and I will forever remember Gretchen’s first time picking the net!
Salmon demand respect. The idea of utilizing the whole the fish and promoting quality in our catch is an ever ongoing process. With large harvests and a diverse fleet education is key for proper handling and chilling.
Salmon sustain us. Set the Net is my window to you about our lives in Bristol Bay. I try to show my love through the many ways I process and prepare it.
Salmon deserve to be protected. For years the fight has continued against Pebble Mine and the threat it poses to our waterways and fish in Bristol Bay. To learn more visit United Tribes of Bristol Bay and take a stand for salmon! #nopebblemine
On this second annual Alaska Wild Salmon Day I’ll raise a glass, grill a fillet, and give thanks to the fish that enables our lifestyle and generates joy!
For more fishing photos and works from Will Kutscher check out his Instagram @kutscher0