ASMI celebrates third annual Alaska Herring Week in Seattle

Published on
July 26, 2017

Last month, Seattle celebrated its third annual Alaska Herring Week, in which restaurants and grocers throughout the city featured herring-heavy menus and herring-stocked shelves in an attempt to garner local attention for the oft-overlooked fish.

Though herring is one of the largest fisheries in the world and is ubiquitous throughout Northern Europe, there is not much of an appetite for the fish in the Northwest United States, where salmon and halibut are king. 

By introducing eaters to the fish through a week dedicated to it, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, which organized the event, hopes to kindle an affinity for the fish in the Pacific Northwest. The even has grown in popularity since being introduced in 2015. During its inaugural year, just eight restaurants participated. In 2016, 33 restaurants took part, and this year 60 restaurants and grocers were involved. 

The week’s herring was provided by North Pacific Seafoods, which brought fillets from Togiak, Alaska, a sustainable fishery as well as the state’s largest, according to ASMI. 

Rich in Omega-3s and mild in taste, industry officials expect the fish to appeal to the masses once they are introduced to it. Currently, the market for Alaska herring is largest in Japan, where the roe is prized for sushi.

Ahead of the event, ASMI Sustainability Director Susan Marks said, “The purpose of this is to try and develop a market for an abundant and inexpensive protein source, and introducing people and their pallets to a seafood that they may not have thought of trying or even had a desire to try.”

Other cities in the region including Portland, Oregon, Vancouver, British Columbia, and San Francisco, California have expressed interest in hosting a herring week themselves in coming years.

Reporting from Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.

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