Alaska Herring Week aims to restore herring to its proper place as a commercial fishery for human consumption. As one of our region’s great, wild seafood resources, herring is abundant, affordable, sustainable, delicious and nutritious. It is part of our culture, and it comes with a rich and colorful history.
Herring is delicious, easy to prepare and ubiquitous throughout Northern Europe. It is one of the largest fisheries in the world. Alaska herring has a surprisingly mild flavor similar to trout, is loaded with Omega 3’s, and comes from a sustainable fishery in Alaska. Fresh and frozen herring has largely disappeared from Western Washington menus and fish markets… Until now. Alaska Herring Week aims to re-introduce this tasty, healthy fish to Seattle’s culinary scene.
The Alaska Herring Development Project, a project of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, is partnering with Seattle chefs and grocers to restore the Seattle market for herring as a high-quality food for people via Alaska Herring Week. North Pacific Seafoods, which produces famous Bristol Bay Sockeye salmon in Naknek, Alaska during the summer, is producing fillets from Alaska’s largest herring fishery in Togiak, Alaska, for use by chefs and sale by grocers during Alaska Herring Week.
The Togiak herring fishery is sustainably managed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The herring harvest is based on a sustainable level of the herring biomass. Currently, the primary market for Alaska Herring is for their eggs in Japan. With the change in culture away from this product in Japan, the demand for the Alaska herring has declined in both value and volume. A very small portion of the Alaska Herring Fishery is used as bait for species like halibut and crab.
Alaska Herring Week 2017 enlisted 50+ of Seattle-area restaurants and grocers to participate by featuring a herring dish on their menus or herring products in their retail stores. A list of restaurants and grocers that participated last year can be found here.
(Photo Courtesy of Alaska Seafood.)