Pre-Ordering is Key to Harvester’s Direct Marketing Plan

A wild salmon harvester intent on increasing direct
marketing opportunities for commercial fishermen in Southeast Alaska is
promoting his fledging business on Internet social media, attracting thousands
of dollars in pre-paid seafood orders.
His plan, says Craig Kasberg, of Juneau, Alaska, is to
direct market wild salmon captured in gillnet fisheries, and to provide
opportunity for other harvesters to do the same through his facility, Alaska
Seafood Source, which will send certified sustainable Alaska caught crab,
salmon and halibut directly to the customer’s front door, using reusable
packaging materials.
Kasberg, who started out working on a vessel owned by a
family friend in Juneau just eight years ago, said in an interview April 6 that
this is also an opportunity to connect consumers directly to the fishermen who
caught their seafood, and to teach consumers about healthy, sustainable
seafood, so they can make educated decisions on purchasing for their own homes.
He cites a study by the conservation organization Oceana,
which said that in the United States, 80 percent of seafood is imported, and
one-third of seafood is mislabeled.
Commercial harvesters in Prince William Sound, Bristol Bay,
the Kenai Peninsula and other parts of Southeast Alaska have already found much
success in direct marketing their catch. Yet, said Kasberg, up until now the
Juneau area has not had the facilities to allow them to do this.
He got off to a running start in mid-March using an Internet
website called Kickstarter, where he was able to solicit upwards of $18,000 in
advance orders for wild Alaska salmon to help finance a 350-square-foot
industrial grade walk-in style freezer, high-quality reusable packaging
materials, horizontal-flow vacuum packaging machine and supplies, as well as
commercial grade scales. The freezer alone, he said, will cost about $30,000.

“A lot of people don’t know much about wild seafood, so the
Internet promotions are sparking a lot of interest,” Kasberg said. “I’m trying
to post a lot of facts about how Alaska manages its fisheries, and to tell them
about the health benefits of wild versus farmed fish.”