The Reds are Runnin

Early this morning under a blanket of thick fog, the F/V Zachary R pulled up to the dock with the first load of the 2009 Kodiak Sockeye Salmon Season. The first 48 hour opener proved to be quite productive. Typically the beginning of the run is slow to show up in the distant bays and passes of Kodiak’s West Side. Nets were in the water starting at noon on Tuesday and fishing was steady for the 19 set net sites the entire opener. Down on the deck of the Zachary R, Captain Kevin Bundy attaches the hook to his fish hold cover. He agrees that if fishing stays like this, it is going to be a good June for the Kodiak Salmon Fleet.

Down on the deck of the Zachary R,  Captain Kevin Bundy attaches the hook to his fish hold cover

With the arrival of the much anticipated salmon season, this first round of fresh sockeye is headed to one of our biggest customers. Fresh fillets for this customer will be flown direct to their distribution centers in Texas, Arizona, Utah, and Illinois. Today, Island Seafoods sent fresh Kodiak Sockeye all over the country!!

I want to encourage anyone who has never tried sockeye salmon to take this opportunity to place an order and try the freshest, purest, most healthy seafood the Pacific Ocean has to offer, Kodiak Sockeye Salmon!

I am going to take you, the reader on a photo tour of today’s salmon production here at Island Seafoods. Enjoy!

Here is the F/V Fairwind this morning, owned and operated by Captain Shawna Rittenhouse. Capt. Shawna picks up the salmon from the Kupreanof Strait and Onion Bay set net sites.

This is our dock foreman, Chamba holding the first sockeye offloaded for 2009.

Fresh off the boat, these sockeye are headed for a tote at the end of the offload conveyor to be brought inside for processing.

Fresh off the boat

This is our dock foreman, Chamba holding the first sockeye offloaded for 2009.

This is our dock foreman, Chamba

A Red

Once inside the plant, the heads are removed and they move down the line to the pocket conveyor. Here Saul opens the bellies with care not to cut the precious roe inside.

Saul opens the bellies with care

Off the pocket conveyor, they head to the collar belt, where the collars are trimmed off in preparation for the fillet machine.

In preparation for the fillet machine

After the fillet machine, the fillets follow a moving cutting line where they will be trimmed to precise specifications.

Cutting line

Following the carefully trained eyes of the trimmers, the fillets run through the pin bone remover. Here Elsa pulls, by hand any stray bones the machine missed. This step makes life in the kitchen and dinner table much much easier!

Elsa pulls, by hand any stray bones the machine missed

For today’s fresh orders, we packed fillets into 25 pound cases for shipment on Alaska Airlines. Here Blanca delicately layers fillets meat to meat and skin to skin. After this it is out to the waiting flatbed truck and off to the airport.

Here Blanca delicately layers fillets

The crew will be ready for another round

The crew will be ready for another round of fresh sockeye when the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announces the next opener scheduled for early next week. Until then, don’t miss your chance at the first Sockeye of 2009.

Happy Seafood Cooking, Enjoy!