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Alaska Seafood

Updated on October 17, 2014

Alaska Seafood - Salmon, Halibut, King Crabs, Snow Crabs

This page has information on Alaska Seafood including king crabs, snow crabs, Dungeness crabs, scallops, salmon, cod, halibut, and other seafood.

Alaska is home to some of the most skilled and respected commercial fishermen in the world. According to labor statistics, Alaska’s seafood industry provides more jobs than oil and gas, mining, agriculture and forestry combined.

Alaskan commercial fishing ports rank among the highest in the USA in both volume and value of annual seafood catches, producing roughly half of the nation's seafood landings.

Types of Alaska Seafood

Salmon

Alaska is known for it's salmon. The flavor of Alaska Salmon depends upon fat content and the environment in which it matured. Alaska's water quality and the abundance of food sources give the area's salmon it's excellent flavor.

There are five species of wild Alaska salmon -

Sockeye or Red(Oncorhynchus nerka), Chinook or King(Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), Coho or Silver(Oncorhynchus kisutch), Keta or Chum (Oncorhynchus keta), and Pink or Humpy (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha).

Wild Alaska salmon grow in the ocean, and spawn in the rivers. Salmon spawn once and die afterward. Wild salmon eventually migrate to sea, then return to their stream of birth to spawn. The Chinook salmon is the state fish of Alaska.

Alaska Pollock

The Alaska pollock fishery is the largest U.S. fishery, by volume. Annual catches average 2.5 billion pounds. The fishery meets the MSC's environmental standard for a well-managed and sustainable fishery. Because of its quality, abundance and versatility, Alaska pollock is used in more seafood products than any other fish species.

Other Alaska Whitefish

Pollock, halibut, sole, cod, and black cod are all grouped as whitefish. These fish have flaky white flesh that is generally mild in flavor. In 2011, Alaska black cod/sablefish became the third of Alaska's major commercial fisheries to be awarded the FAO-Based Responsible Fisheries Management Certification.

Crabs

Alaska is famous for it's delicious varieties of crabs. Among them, the king crab, snow crab and dungeness crabs.

King crabs are the largest of all the crabs caught in the world, weighing up to 10 pounds.

Snow Crabs are are another delicious Alaskan Crab. Frozen snow crabs are available worldwide, cleaned and pre-cooked, ready to heat and serve.

Dungeness crabs are known for their high quality meat. The 2-3 lb crabs are steamed and served whole.

Scallops

Alaska Scallops are largest scallops available. The highly prized shellfish have a sweet flavor and firm texture.

The Value of Alaska Seafood

In 2009, Alaska's finfish and shellfish landings revenue totaled over $1.3 billion. Alaska's most important seafood products include Atka mackerel, Pacific cod, crab, flatfish, Pacific halibut, Pacific herring, rockfish, sablefish, salmon, and walleye pollock. (source: Fisheries Economics of the United States 2009)

dungeness crabs
dungeness crabs

Dungeness Crabs

Dungeness crabs are caught from Alaska to California. They are prized for their delicate flavor.

The Pacific Dungeness crab stock is quite cyclical, and may be ready for a rebound. New research techniques in development seek to forecast stock size three or four years ahead of time.

Commercial Dungeness crabbing vessels operate in some of the winter's worst weather in hazardous waters and have the highest fatality rate of any West Coast fishery. "Operation Safe Crab" is the United States Coast Guard's continuing initiative to reduce the number of fisherman's lives lost at sea.

Field Guide to Common Marine Fishes and Invertebrates of Alaska,

A new book is available from Alaska Sea Grant. The resource, entitled Field Guide to Common Marine Fishes and Invertebrates of Alaska, by Susan C. Byersdorfer and Leslie J. Watson has color photographs and descriptions of more than 400 marine species.

The waterproof book is valuable for at-sea biologists and technicians doing fisheries surveys, and is useful to fishermen, teachers, and everyone who wants to know what they've caught or what an animal looks like.

The geographic range is the eastern Bering Sea, central Aleutian Islands, western and central Gulf of Alaska, and north of Norton Sound and southeastern Alaska. As research biologists at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Kodiak, the authors have studied Alaska biota for several decades.

John Hilsinger, director of Commercial Fisheries Division, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, give the book high praise, "A great reference for the marine biologist, fisherman, or scuba diver. The excellent color photos, written descriptions, and extensive glossary work together to make this guide very easy to use."

At 360 pages, the book sells for $35. To order a copy, go to http://seagrant.uaf.edu/bookstore/

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    • JohnMichael2 profile image

      JohnMichael2 5 years ago

      Thanks for the introduction to Alaska's seafood ... it's still one of the states I need to visit

    • chefkeem profile image

      Achim Thiemermann 9 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Very nice lens, 5*s! Lensrolled to my lenses "Cooking in Alaska" and "Silver Salmon". Love to read about the best food in the world - AK seafood!

    • M Schaut profile image

      Margaret Schaut 10 years ago from Detroit

      A delicacy I love and rarely have, which keeps it special. I've lensrolled your lens to Amish Foods. Really good work.