Suquamish tribal fisherman Ray Forsman is continuing the tradition of sharing a fisherman’s harvest with his community, ensuring that tribal members have enough to eat.

After harvesting Fraser River pink salmon in the San Juan Islands in March 2011, Forsman worked with the tribe to have more than 8,000 pounds of pink salmon canned at the Swinomish Fish Co. cannery and delivered to Suquamish.

Human services staff member Jackie Demain-Severson labels cases of pink salmon for Suquamish tribal members.

Forsman has been fishing and donating some of his catch to the tribe for a number of years, but it was only distributed to Suquamish elders and the tribe’s food bank. Last year, he approached the tribe’s fisheries department about conducting a subsistence harvest to benefit the entire community. In May 2012, tribal members received one case of canned pink salmon while elders received two.

“I heard two cases of salmon were available and I couldn’t believe it,” said tribal member Vicky Doyle. “That’s a lot of salmon.”

Remaining fish will go to the Suquamish food bank.

Since fish is a part of the tribal members’ traditional diet, it’s important to make sure it’s available to tribal community. Health benefits of salmon include servings of Omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and Vitamin D.

“Each can has enough for two sandwiches,” said tribal member Marjorie Lawrence. “I know elders who put it in ramen. It’d be a good substitution for chicken on top of a Caesar salad.”

“The whole crew feels good about this,” Forsman said. “We want to continue a tradition that has been around for a long time. It is our goal to make this an annual distribution effort for the Suquamish community.”

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For more information, contact Clae Williams, Suquamish Human Services, at 360-394-8413 or kwilliams@suquamish.nsn.us; Jay Zischke, Suquamish Tribe fisheries management biologist/marine fish manager, at (360) 394-8444 or jzischke@suquamish.nsn.us; Tiffany Royal, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission information officer, at (360) 297-6546 or troyal@nwifc.org.