Early Bird Seafood Shares Program Feeds Buyers, Benefits Communities

Image: Alaskans Own.

A seafood program delivering monthly shares to buyers throughout Alaska and the Seattle area is off and running for the 14th year, with profits going directly to affiliated programs benefitting fishery conservation, community health and resilience efforts.

This year, Alaskans Own is again offering customers the option of choosing their shares in a variety package, salmon or white fish, all of which feature hook-and-line caught wild Alaska seafood harvested by Southeast Alaska’s troll and longline fishermen.

To date, the program, created by the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association (ALFA), has helped deliver more than 650,000 donated seafood meals to more than 100,000 families, according to ALFA. It also has given longline fishermen some certainty that they have a market before heading out to the fishing grounds.

“The challenge that we all experienced as a result of the COVID pandemic really reinforced for us at Alaskans Own that we want to do more than just deliver high quality seafood,” said founder Linda Behnken, who’s a Sitka resident, a veteran harvester and executive director of ALFA.

“We want our fish to do good and build community,” she said.

“Our top priority Alaskans Own program Director Natalie Sattler said, “is to take care of our community, whether that’s by safeguarding ocean health, paying local fishermen a good price for their catch, providing our customers with premium quality fish or ensuring that all Alaskans can have access to nutritious, wild seafood.”

Those who buy monthly shares are not only taking care of their family’s health, but directly supporting conservation of Alaska’s fisheries and seafood donations for families in need, Sattler explained.

Profits from Alaskans Own go towards ALFA’s Fishery Conservation Network and community health and resilience programs such as ALFA’s Seafood Distribution Network. The Seafood Donation Program, now called the Seafood Distribution Network, was created in 2020 in response to COVID-19 and the rise in demand for food assistance throughout Alaska and the greater Pacific Northwest region.

The program is supported by funding from Catch Together, Multiplier, the Alaska Community Foundation and affiliate Sitka Legacy Fund, First Bank of Alaska, Sealaska, Sitka Rotary Club, the Wave Foundation, Seafood Producers Cooperative, Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association and a host of individual and business donors.