Jon Rowley, the mastermind behind the Alaskan Copper River King Salmon boom, has discovered a new source for fantastically delicious Alaskan King salmon, the Yukon River. (Read about Rowley's other good works here, in Jonathan's piece honoring him.)
In a side-by-side taste test, both fish were amazingly good, but the Yukon salmon (provided by Kwik'Pak Fisheries) was marbled like a rich steak, with the delicate tenderness of sushi, and possessed a meltingly great mouth feel. These fish enter the Yukon from the icy waters of the Bering Sea, with 2000 miles to go before they reach their spawning grounds. With such a long trip ahead of them, these are the oiliest (read: tastiest) type of salmon.
Jon Rawley is putting his marketing muscle behind Kwik'pak Fisheries, which is, notably, the only fishery in the world certified by the Fair Trade Federation, and is also a sustainable fishery, approved by the Marine Stewardship Council. Native Alaskan fishing families operate small, open boats to harvest these salmon, bleeding and preserving the fish on ice using a method that Rowley introduced to the native fishing community of Copper River back in the 80's. Previously, the vast majority of Alaskan fish was cooked and canned on-site. Ice (and quick shipping) offered the technological and cultural innovation that introduced the delicacy of truly fresh Alaskan salmon to the rest of the world.