July 24, 2007

After having one fisherman not show up with fish after
agreeing to do so 12 hours previously, I headed to
Sitka, where I arranged to buy fish from a friend who
started trolling the same year I did. I bought fish
from him in April, and they were fabulous. He talked
me into paying a higher price than I had, after I
asked him the usual questions about fish handling and
on board processing.

When I got to Sitka, I found only one of us was
holding up our end of the deal. His fish were pretty
average, and I saw I’d have to do alot of extra work
when I got back to my processor in Juneau bleeding his
fish to bring them up to our high standards. When I
pointed this out to him, he proceeded to yell at his
deckhand as though it was all her fault. Only problem
was, she hadn’t been the one on the phone telling me
what I could expect. Her skipper had. So, another
lesson learned and another file logged to the hard
disk in my head for the next time I buy fish from this
particular boat. I spent 3 hours when I got back to
Juneau taking care of things I’d paid him to do, but
live and learn.

I’m getting the boat we bought last year to dress fish
on ready to sell. The state crippled our operation
this year, and only one legislator – Rep. Gabrielle
LeDoux of Kodiak – gave me any assistance. She wrote
an unsolicitied letter to DEC after reading my
editorial in the Anchorage Daily News. The governors
fisheries liason Cora Crome made a courtesy call, but
did nothing to assist our situation as of yet, and the
season is quickly coming to a close. So much for an
administration looking out for the “little guy”. We
had a great plan for high quality salmon.
Unfortunately, we operate in a state that discourages
innovation and real-time reaction to it’s salmon

My buddy Chris just got back from Bristol Bay, where
he caught 170,000 lbs of sockeye in 3 weeks! He said
he’s going to troll close to Juneau later in the
season, and so I hope to start deckhanding for him
then when I can run out in my boat or skiff to meet
him and return to town with a few totes of fish after
we’re done.

Deer season opens next week – Aug. 1. I can hardly
believe it’s August already, as I didn’t even notice
we were in July.

Mark Stopha and Sara Hannan
Alaska Wild Salmon Company
Wild Salmon and Salmon Pet Treats
4455 N. Douglas Hwy
Juneau, AK 99801

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