Seafood Fans Rejoice: Wild Alaska Salmon Season is Officially Underway

JUNEAU, Ala. — This year’s summer Alaska salmon harvest officially begins today, May 16th, bringing first of the season Alaska salmon from sea to table. Alaska king salmon is harvested in limited quantities throughout the year, and the summer season opening brings more king and sockeye salmon to grocery stores and restaurant menus nationwide, to be followed by pink, keta, then coho salmon throughout summer.

Rich in nutrients and flavor, Alaska salmon marries unparalleled taste with a wide range of health benefits as a heart-friendly protein offering essential vitamins, minerals and omega-3s (DHA and EPA). Glacial waters give Alaska salmon the pure, rich flavor and exceptional quality that make it one of America’s most iconic fish. From cioppino to poke, and simple plank grilled Alaska salmon with sweet potatoes, wild-caught salmon from Alaska is a quintessential ingredient for late-spring and summer dishes.

“As the quality and source of ingredients become increasingly top-of-mind priorities for consumers, the state of Alaska is honored to remain a trusted symbol of superior, sustainably-harvested seafood,” said Jeremy Woodrow, communications director, Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI). “When consumers see ‘Alaska’ on the menu or packaging, they can trust their salmon is wild, sustainable and of exceptional quality.”

Alaska’s salmon stocks account for nearly 95 percent of the wild salmon harvested in the U.S., which can be enjoyed fresh through October, as well as fresh-frozen, smoked and canned year-round, offering a variety of options for every taste, budget and culinary application.

Alaska’s constitution mandates sustainability with science-based fishery management practices widely regarded as a model for the world. This year’s Alaska salmon harvest is forecasted by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game at over 213 million salmon. With ample availability nation-wide, the five species of Alaska salmon can be enjoyed in a variety of ways:

  • Sockeye – Perfect for almost all preparation techniques, Alaska sockeye salmon is rich in flavor, bright in color and firm in texture. Try grilling, broiling, sautéing, roasting, poaching, steaming or even smoking to bring out the traditional flavors of this popular red salmon.

               Recipe suggestion: Alaska Sockeye Salmon with Herbs and Garlic

  • King – As the largest species within the Alaska salmon family, king is prized by fishermen and epicureans alike, revered for having the highest fat content. Also known as Chinook, Alaskaking salmon is equally versatile with a rich flavor that can be easily enhanced by a variety of seasonings and marinades. Or, enjoy it simply seasoned with salt and pepper!

               Recipe suggestion: Slow Cooked Wild Alaska King Salmon with Pistachio and Peas

  • Pink – The smallest and most abundant of the five Alaska species, Alaska pink salmon is known for its mild taste and tender texture making it an excellent choice for salmon burgers or simple baked salmon. Pro Tip: Due to its naturally lower oil content, decrease cooking temperatures to maintain the delicate flavors.  

               Recipe suggestion: Cajun Style Alaska Pink Salmon & Corn Cakes

  • Keta – With a firmer texture and orange-pink color, Alaska keta salmon is extremely adaptable to a multitude of cooking techniques thanks to its mild and delicate flavor. Keta salmon is a great choice for summer grilling, smoking or roasting. Like pink salmon, it is best to prepare keta at decreased cooking temperatures.

               Recipe suggestion: Lemon-Thyme Alaska Keta Salmon with Artichoke-Tomato Salad

  • Coho – Known for its orange-red flesh, Alaska coho is the second largest Alaska salmon species after king. With a firm texture and delicate flavor, coho lends itself to a host of preparation styles, and is particularly apt for grilling and broiling.

               Recipe suggestion: Alaska Coho Salmon Tacos with Mango Salsa and Avocado Cream

In addition to Alaska salmon, a wide variety of other Alaska seafood species including Alaskahalibut, sablefish, sole, rockfish, pollock, scallops, and crab will also be available nation-wide throughout the summer. For the latest updates and more culinary inspiration, follow Alaska Seafood on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

About Alaska Seafood:
The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) is a partnership of the State of Alaska and the Alaskaseafood industry promoting the benefits of wild and sustainable Alaska seafood and offering seafood industry education. The seafood industry is Alaska’s largest private sector employer with nearly 60 percent of all seafood and 90-95 percent of wild salmon harvested in the U.S. coming from Alaska. Alaska is known for its wild salmon, crab and whitefish varieties, such as cod, sablefish, halibut, pollock, sole and rockfish, and is available frozen, canned, smoked and fresh year-round. Alaska has been dedicated to sustainable seafood for more than 50 years and is the only state with a constitution that mandates all seafood be maintained under the sustained yield principle. Alaskahas taken a leadership role in setting the standard for precautionary resource management to protect fisheries and surrounding habitats for future generations and leading to an ever-replenishing supply of wild seafood for markets worldwide.