This week, the Alaskans Own Community Supported Fishery (CSF) delivered its first monthly seafood shares to members in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Juneau, Sitka, and Seattle. This summer’s seafood shares will include some of Southeast Alaska’s most prized seafood species, including winter king salmon, coho salmon, halibut, sablefish, rockfish, and lingcod.

Founded in 2009, Alaskans Own is Alaska’s first CSF and follows the widely successful Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model that farmers around the country have adopted as a means of creating more stability and transparency in the supply chain. In a CSF, consumers buy a share of the fisherman’s catch before it’s caught. This allows fishermen to know how much they need to catch before they go fishing and gives consumers guaranteed access to seafood.

“We started Alaskans Own primarily to make it easier for Alaskans to buy local seafood and support Alaska’s fishing families. While Alaska might be the country’s largest seafood producer, it can be surprisingly difficult to find local Alaska seafood in our community grocery stores since so much of it is exported,” said Linda Behnken, Sitka-based commercial fisherman and founder of Alaskans Own. “Another goal of ours is to create funding for the Fishery Conservation Network, which facilitates cooperative fisheries research between local fishermen and scientists. All revenue generated by Alaskans Own is invested back into the conservation of our fisheries.”

Photo courtesy Eric Jordan

In addition to bringing seafood to its members, Alaskans Own has also launched a new seafood donation program this spring to help Alaska families impacted by the Coronavirus. So far, Alaskans Own has distributed 650 pounds of donated seafood directly to 60 local families and partnered with the Sitka Tribe of Alaska, the Salvation Army, and the Sitkans Against Families Violence shelter. 

“We wanted to do something to help meet the quickly growing demand for food assistance, and for healthy protein in particular. Our fishermen donated the fish and we partnered with Seafood Producers Cooperative and Sitka Sound Seafoods to process and package the fish for us. It’s been a true community effort. Additional donations from the Sitka Legacy Fund, Silver Bay Seafoods, Slow Fish and others will allow us to continue our seafood donation program through the fall,” said Behnken. 

“The Coronavirus has reinforced the importance of our local food systems; they are critical to the health of our families, communities, and economy. That’s why we’re more committed than ever at Alaskans Own to continue bringing Alaska’s seafood bounty directly to consumers so that they can keep their freezer full of nutritious, local seafood all summer long.”

For more information about the Alaskans Own Community Supported Fishery, including seafood share options and how to become an Alaskans Own CSF member, visit www.alaskansown.com