While growing up in Alaska in the 1980s, I worked my way through high school and college on various fishing boats and in a number of fish processing plants. I was certainly spoiled when it came to enjoying the best seafood in the world! In the late 1990s, I relocated to Singapore and quickly realized that the “Alaskan” seafood I found on menus and in the grocery stores and markets simply did not look or taste like the seafood I grew up eating. I was always left disappointed. As the years past and I learned more about the various sources of seafood, I began to understand why things just weren’t the same. This is why I have put together this list of 7 reasons why I think Alaskan seafood is the best.
- Quality – Simply put, the quality of seafood pulled from Alaska’s waters are of the highest quality and second to none. The icy cold waters of the North Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea are thousands of miles away from large sources of pollution that contaminate the fishing grounds. A combination of these great distances and the earth’s natural air and water circulation patterns keep Alaska’s waters among the cleanest in the world.
- IQF (individually quick frozen) – IQF means Alaskan seafood is flash frozen as soon as it is pulled from the water. The freshness, flavor, and texture are locked in allowing you to keep your seafood fresh for many months. ‘Fresh’ fish can take days to get from the water to your dinner plate. Unless you sling the fish onto the grill while it’s still on the hook you cannot guarantee its freshness. IQF maintains the quality of the fish once it has been pulled from the water. Check out this excellent sight covering everything you need to know about cooking frozen seafood: cookitfrozen.com
- Omega-3s (healthily living) – Want a healthy heart and brain? Enjoy delicious and healthy meals when you consume Alaskan salmon, black cod, a wide variety of whitefish and crab from Alaska. All are loaded with high levels of Omega-3s! Not only is this essential oil beneficial to your heart and brain, it has also proven to strengthen your immune system, vision, nerve cells and your gums. Whether you study the mountains of nutritional research or simply observe the extraordinary health and longevity of people from countries who consume seafood as a mainstay of their diet, including a few meals of Alaskan seafood into your weekly diet will provide you with the recommend doses of omega-3s to improve you overall health.
- Variety – With five species of salmon, six species of whitefish and nine species of shellfish, Alaska will surely have something you fancy. Whether you enjoy the delicately sweet, snowy white flesh of the snow crab, the velvety-buttery smooth texture of the black cod, the succulent, high oil content of the Chinook salmon; or the wild and pure sweet flavor of the Weathervane scallops the variety of seafood products from Alaska is unparalleled. And let me tell you about my favorite the Red King Crab!! This is simply the best crab in the world. Nothing compares and in my mind there is no other seafood on this planet that I’d rather eat. I keep it simple. If you know how to boil water then you are able to prepare these colossal legs/claws. After shelling, I dip the massive pieces of crab meat in melted butter and lightly salt them and eat until I make myself sick.
- Wild Caught – Wild-caught vs. farmed? This is an issue that has become more and more prevalent in recent years, especially within heath and environmentally conscious communities. Much has been written about the toxins found in the inferior quality of farmed salmon and fish. On the flip side, you have the overall health benefits of eating wild-caught seafood. Fish farms were banned in Alaska in 1989 to help preserve wild stocks and protect the commercial fishing industry.
- Eco Friendly – Then there is the issue of the environment. While not all fish farms are at fault, a large number of fish are being farmed irresponsibly in Vietnam, Canada, and Norway. Toxins, pesticides, and other chemicals are used to raise the fish trapped in coastal farms. These farms pollute the waters with chemicals, diseases, and viruses destroying the wild fish population that come near or pass by these farms. It is well documented that open-net fish farms create ocean dead zones and kill wild salmon.
- Sustainability – Alaska is world renowned for its fisheries management. According to the latest yearly ‘Report on the Status of the US Fisheries,’ published by the National Marine Fisheries Service, no Alaska salmon or bottom fish (ground fish) is classified as over fished. An example of this effective management is evident with the salmon harvest being well beyond historical levels for more than three decades. Alaska’s fisheries will ensure abundant fish for generations to come.
There you have it. Seven reasons why I believe Alaskan seafood is the best seafood in the world and why it will continue to be in high demand for years to come.