For the past several years, the Nisqually Tribe has bought and sold salmon caught by their fishermen. This summer, the tribe worked with Sea Grant and dozens of tribal fishermen to review techniques to increase the value of their salmon.
The goal of the program is to pass as much value as possible back to the fishermen. We wrote about the tribe’s fish marketing program last year:
The Nisqually Indian Tribe is creating a stable market for tribal fishermen by buying and processing salmon.
“What we’re trying to do here is to make sure tribal fishermen can afford to stay on the water,” said James Slape Jr., Nisqually Tribe councilmember.
“They’re able to keep the resource price consistently high throughout the season,” Slape said. “Our goal is to make sure that tribal fishers, not only Nisqually, take home livable wages. A good portion of the fishers rely on fishing as a single source of income for their families.”
Currently, the tribe is selling more than 6,000 pounds a month of tribally caught salmon to wholesalers and food supply companies.
By taking steps like icing and bleeding salmon soon after they’re caught, tribal fisherman can increase the health of the entire buying operation. “A higher quality of fish overall helps all the fishermen,” said Rick Thomas, who runs the buying program for the tribe.
One step the tribe took in 2011 to help fishermen was to invest thousands of dollars in an ice machine that makes 11 tons of ice available fishermen daily.