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Sustainable Seafood Celebration

Mission: keeping the Salish Sea healthy

We all want this. But wanting and doing are different things.

In November 2018, a Sustainable Seafood Summit was held in Seattle, presented by The James Beard Foundation, Pew Charitable Trust, and Ocean Conservancy. Speakers educated people about diminishing numbers of wild salmon and threatened Orca populations. Bottom line, someone has to do something.

Larry Mellum, owner/founder of Pike Place Chowder, and Riley Starks, founder of the Salish Center for Sustainable Fishing Methods decided it might as well be them. From their mutual concerns came the Sustainable Seafood Celebration. Their mission: create a nonprofit group to "raise awareness of the fruits of the Salish Sea - encouraging efforts to keep our local waters healthy despite rapid population growth, rebuilding healthy populations of wild salmon from the Salish Sea, supporting the survival of the Orcas, and highlighting the successful results of good policy and responsible management."

Celebrations so far have included a March 2019 "Hail the Halibut." As Salish Sea halibut made its debut, fresh fish arrived in Northern Salish tribal canoes, powered by 11 paddlers, and were delivered to chefs and seafood buyers waiting on shore.

In June 2019, it was the "Baker Lake Sockeye Salmon" celebration, a field trip to Baker Lake in partnership with Lummi Island Wild. The Swinomish, Sauk-Sulattle, and Upper Skagit tribes work with Puget Sound Energy to restore populations of the only wild sockeye run in Puget Sound. In 1985, there were 99 spawners. In 2015, it was 50,000. The past two seasons produced a harvestable surplus of over 40,000 pounds.

Then on August 17, 2019, it was "Paddle for the Pinks," a fishing derby in Everett for non-motorized, sea-worthy crafts propelled by sailor-power. So kayaks, canoes, sailboats, surfboards, or dinghies are welcome to support the pink salmon.

October 2019, it's a partnership with Lummi Island Wild again, this time to focus on the Dungeness crab. There's an abundant return of this favorite, a result of responsible fishing methods. Check the website for details as events get closer.

"A tangible near-term goal is to create a mother-and-child Orca bronze piece to allow passers-by to donate their change and thereby be a part of the solution," says Riley. "Bronze sculptor David Eisenhour from Port Townsend is working on the model, which will be produced in a limited edition for fundraisiner. We hope to have these limited edition models at the two Pike Place Chowder locations and the Olympic Sculpture Garden."

Success stories and continued future success relies on all of us working together. You can be a participant, donor, an informed diner. Or host an educational presentation put on by Sustainable Seafood Celebration. Click here to find out how you can help.

If you'd like to donate, click here: Donate to Salish Center for Sustainable Fishing Methods for the Sustainable Seafood Celebration.

Recipients include Long Live the Kings, Regional Fisheries Coalition , OceansInitiative , Northwest Straits Foundation , and Salish Center for Sustainable Fishing Methods .

"The Salish Sea is one of the world's largest and biologically rich inland seas." It includes Puget Sound, the San Juan Islands, waters off of Vancouver, B.C., from Olympia, Washington, to the Campbell River in British Columbia. It impacts us all.

Connie Adams/July 2019

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