Editor’s note: Jen Lamson and Kristin Hyde of Good Food Strategies contribute an occasional food-related column to the Daily Score.
Northwesterners think we already know everything about salmon. We were the first to jump on the yumminess of Copper River salmon. Efforts to save endangered runs of the iconic Northwest salmon are becoming part of our everyday life and business. So why do we know so little about a local, sustainably troll-caught wild salmon from the waters off Washington’s Neah Bay?
That’s about to change. Wild Washington marbled king salmon—as noted in a Seattle Weekly column last week—is beginning to make a splash around the region. This fish is blessed with high good fat content, high omega-3 levels and a genetically distinct blend of both red and white flesh.
Because the marbled flesh looks different than the traditional red filets of fresh wild salmon, some retailers have been nervous about putting it in their case. But chefs at some restaurants—including Seattle’s Lark, which featured marbled king in a recent tasting–are beginning to tout its unique value and local pedigree.
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Marbled king occur only in the fisheries of Washington and southwest British Columbia. They are believed to originate from the tributaries of the Lower Fraser, the Harrison, the Vedder and Chilliwack Rivers of BC, and they are largely caught off the Washington coast near Neah Bay. They’re troll-caught individually on hook and line, stunned in the water, immediately bled and iced or frozen on the boat.
Why should we care? Well, besides the fact that it’s delicious, marbled king is local, at least for western Washington. It’s harvested by the Washington troll-fishing fleet and Makah tribal fishermen who recently entered into a collaboration to jointly market it. So if you eat it, you’ll help save it—and help support the local and tribal fishers who harvest these fish, as well as their communities.
If you can’t find Washington marbled salmon at local fish markets, grocery stores, and restaurants, ask for it. Here’s a short list of who’s selling it now.