Growing PNW retailer to promote once near-extinct salmon run


James Wright, Senior Editor

Published on
May 19, 2015

Pacific Northwest (USA) retailer Haggen, seeking to provide its customers local products, has partnered with Swinomish Fish Company of Baker Lake, Wash., to bring fresh Baker Lake king and sockeye salmon to its seafood cases this spring.

The Baker Lake salmon run is predicted to be abundant this summer, with return levels approaching 35,000 fish. Amber Thunder Eagle, seafood buyer for the Bellingham, Wash.-based retailer, said she met with suppliers this winter to find the right fit.

“I know the care and effort that goes into catching Baker Lake Salmon in a sustainable, responsible way, and the quality really shines through in the flavor,” Thunder Eagle said.

The native salmon push up the Skagit River and return to Baker Lake near Concrete, Wash. As recently as 1985 the run faced near-extinction, with only 99 fish returning to the lake. Conservation efforts, including education and habitat restoration, restored the health of the run. In 2012, a record-high return was recorded with more than 48,000 fish returning to spawn.

“We’re grateful for the restoration of the Baker Lake run, and that we found a proactive partner like Haggen who thinks along the same lines we do — to bring the region’s best salmon to the people of the Northwest in a responsible manner,” said Everette Anderson, VP-marketing and sales for Swinomish Fish Company. “The community who made this possible are steadfast in the preservation of this run, which will benefit the people of Washington for generations.”

According to multiple media reports, Haggen is taking over 146 grocery stores along the West Coast that were once Albertsons locations. The units became available as part of the Safeway-Albertsons merger, a requirement of the Federal Trade Commission.

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