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Smart Tag Technology for "fresh" Alaska salmon
by Rob Holston


April 23, 2005

Salmon Scenario: Nearly 20 years ago I worked a summer on a power troller. We would fish for six days at a time before coming to town to sell the catch. These Alaska fresh salmon were caught and immediately bled, gutted and then placed in a crushed ice & salt-water hold with a temperature of about 30.5 degrees. We took excellent care of our fresh catch but like many power trollers before and after us we were part of a growing problem and one, which the salmon farmers of the world were and are taking advantage of. Since 1985 farm raised salmon have DOUBLED!!! their share of the world wide salmon market.

The problem is the "day one" scenario: The king salmon we caught on day one was six days old when it was sold at the dock, eight days old when it arrived in Seattle and nine days old when it was placed in a Safeway "fresh" Alaskan display case in Missoula, Montana. On day ten the Safeway manager thinks his "fresh" Alaskan king salmon is looking a little peeked. Fearing loosing his investment he freezes it, labels it as "fresh frozen Alaska King salmon". He should have labeled it "crab bait" and sent it back to Alaska.

The solution: All Alaska salmon destined for the "fresh" market must make it from catch to market in far fewer days. All fresh salmon should be smart tagged to encode the day of catch and ensure a record of holding temperatures from catch to market. "Fresh frozen" labels must be replaced with "frozen fresh" labels, that is vacuumed packed & frozen the day that it is caught. Ketchikan trollers must get on board with these advanced technologies. To continue the ways of the past is to play into the hands of salmon farmers around the world. Ketchikan fishermen need to equip their vessels with vacuum packers & flash freezers for "frozen fresh" &/or smart tag technology for "fresh" Alaska salmon. These positive changes now will ensure Ketchikan"s fishing future as we rebuild a reputation for truly FRESH Ketchikan Wild Salmon.

Rob Holston
Ketchikan, AK - USA



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