Sought-after local, sustainable seafood sold at Lummi market

Lummi tribal fishermen harvest Fraser River sockeye during 2010's record-breaking run.
Lummi tribal fishermen harvest Fraser River sockeye during 2010’s record-breaking run.

Tribally caught fish sold at the Lummi Nation’s Schelangen Seafood Market is both locally sourced and sustainable, two of the most sought-after qualities for chefs, according to the National Restaurant Association.

Schelangen, in the Lummi language, means “way of life.”

“Harvesting has always been the cornerstone of our culture,” said Elden Hillaire, chairman of the Lummi Fisheries Commission. “All of our harvest targets healthy stocks while protecting weak wild runs. Fishing sustainably and being able to supply locally caught seafood is important to us.”

Locally sourced meat and seafood is the top trend in the National Restaurant Association’s What’s Hot 2013 survey. Ninth on the list is sustainable seafood. The What’s Hot list was compiled from a survey of professional chefs about the food, cuisines and culinary themes that will be popular on restaurant menus this year.

Tribes have been forced in recent years to limit fisheries because of widespread damage to salmon habitat. “Fortunately, because of careful management, we can still harvest without impacting weak wild runs,” Hillaire said. “In the long term, sustainable harvest and the restoration of salmon habitat are our goal.”

The Seafood Market is part of the Lummi Gateway Center, off Interstate 5 north of Bellingham. The center is intended to promote community prosperity through tribal enterprise. The nearly 10,000-square-foot shopping center also includes a cafe serving lunch daily and a gift shop featuring Lummi artwork.

In addition, the Lummi Gateway Center has space for seven small businesses to start up. These “incubator” spaces will provide an opportunity for tribal members to develop a new business in a prime storefront area. The building itself has been designed to use less energy on a daily basis than a traditionally constructed building, and earned a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver Certification.

For more information, visit or contact Kari Neumeyer, information officer, NWIFC, 360-424-8226 or [email protected].