10% of profits from your purchase will go directly toward the Alaska Salmon Program at the University of Washington, helping to fund the world's longest running effort to monitor salmon and their ecosystems. Since 1946, researchers and students have been spending every summer in Bristol Bay, Alaska, gathering important data about the largest, healthiest and most valuable salmon fisheries. Sockeye salmon are a keystone species, an ecological term that refers to species that are critical to the survival of other species in their ecosystem. From birds to bears, and the forests and communities that surround them, so many depend on the marine-rich nutrients that wild salmon bring to the region.
Sockeye are born in rivers, lakes and streams, but soon venture out into the ocean where they spend most of their lives. When it's time to spawn, they swim hundreds of miles - from the ocean back to the precise location where they were born. For stream spawners, finding the mouth of the stream is only the beginning, as they then must “run the gauntlet” as researchers call it, swimming upstream in exposed waters where they are vulnerable to predators like bears, eagles, and gulls. This predation may seem tragic, but it is part of what makes sockeye so important to the ecosystem.
Vast numbers of salmon struggling to make headway up the river to spawn after arduous journeys from the ocean is arguably the most powerful example of a will to survive that we’ve ever witnessed in the animal kingdom. We humans often underestimate fish in the grand scheme of Earth’s living beings. To some, they seem foreign, unintelligent, and disposable. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sockeye are absolutely amazing, full of secrets, and keystone contributors to the planet’s ecosystem. Long term, continuous data sets like that from the Alaska Salmon Program provide valuable insight into how our planet is changing. We're proud to support this amazing program!