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Grill to Save Bristol Bay

Savor Bristol Bay cedar grilling planks are now available for purchase from Fire & Flavor Grilling Co. All proceeds from cedar plank sales directly benefit the Save Bristol Bay campaign. Buy your cedar plank today.

Water & Wine

Not sure what wine to have with your wild salmon? Check out one of Trout Unlimited's Water & Wine partners and invest your dollars in a winery that's investing in the future of our wild salmon

WW Business Partners

Wondering where to go to dinner or where to buy some wild salmon? Check out our growing list of WhyWild Business Partners with businesses all over the country committed to sustainable wild salmon fisheries and doing their part to save wild salmon. View the list

Spring 2011

Why Wild eNewsletter - Trout Unlimited
Issue 4, Spring 2011
It's that time of the year when we all start counting down to the first fresh wild salmon of the season. There's nothing better. It's also that time of year when the docks get busy with salmon fishermen prepping their boats, waiting with anticipation. Even bears, eagles, and other critters are eager for the coming pulse of life and nourishment that arrives year after year and feeds the West Coast's watersheds. Yes, we are all waiting for the salmon.

I hope our Spring Newsletter gets you excited about sharing some delicious wild salmon with your friends and family this season. And, whether the wild salmon you're about to cook up is from Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, or California, it's got a story to share. As wild salmon consumers, it's our job and responsibility to get to know the story behind our wild salmon and to share it with others.

It's these stories that are the secret ingredient to any wild salmon dish.

Elizabeth Dubovsky, Program Director
419 Sixth Street, Suite 200 Juneau, AK 99801
907.586.2588 /

WhyWild is Trout Unlimited's community of consumers, chefs, retailers, businesses, sport and commercial fishermen, processors, and others in the salmon marketplace who value wild Pacific salmon and all that wild salmon support and sustain.

Nation's Food Community Tells EPA: Save Bristol Bay

Photo courtesy of Strategies 360

During Save Bristol Bay Week in Washington D.C. (March 28 - April 1), chefs, restaurateurs, fish buyers, and food lovers from across the country called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use its authority to protect Bristol Bay, Alaska's wild salmon fishery from the dangers of the proposed Pebble Mine.

Over 200 people - including Chefs Tom Colicchio, Alice Waters, Mark Bittman, Barton Seaver and Nora Pouillon - sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, urging her to use the agency's authority under the Clean Water Act's Section 404(c) to protect Bristol Bay from large-scale mining and development. More wild salmon come from Bristol Bay than any other place on earth.

At a press conference at Equinox Restaurant, just down the street from the White House, DC chefs kicked off the week-long Savor Bristol Bay Week. More than 20 DC-area restaurants served Bristol Bay salmon during the week to demonstrate the culinary value of this sustainable fishery. In addition, Alaska Natives, commercial fishing groups, hunters and anglers met with legislators and agency members in Washington D.C. to ask for protection of Bristol Bay.

"Bristol Bay is our nation's largest and most valuable wild salmon fishery, making it a critical food and revenue source for the United States," said Todd Gray, chef and co-owner of Equinox Restaurant. "A huge open-pit mine in the Bristol Bay region could eliminate a source of healthy, sustainable fish from our menus."

The EPA took the first step toward protecting the Bristol Bay watershed in southwest Alaska on Feb. 7, when the agency announced plans to initiate a scientific study of the Bristol Bay watershed to better understand how future large-scale development projects could affect Bristol Bay's water quality, fisheries, and communities.

"Bristol Bay has one of the few remaining, healthy fisheries in the world," said Chef Nora Pouillon, owner of Restaurant Nora. "Salmon is an important part of a healthy, sustainable diet, and I strongly urge the EPA to protect this renewable wild food source. I want wild Bristol Bay salmon to remain on menus for generations to come."

Bristol Bay supports a roughly $450 million a year fishing and tourism industry and sustains about 12,000 jobs. Based on preliminary plans, the proposed Pebble Mine would dig an open-pit gold and copper mine up to two miles wide and 1,700 feet deep. Operated by multi-national mining companies, this mine could dump up to 10 billion tons of perpetually toxic waste in the heart of the Bristol Bay watershed. This area is known for frequent earthquakes, which puts the watershed - and all its fish and wildlife - at an even greater risk for long-term toxic pollution and catastrophic damage. 

"Alaska residents and salmon fishermen are so grateful for the support from our nation's food and restaurant industries to protect our last great salmon fishery, Bristol Bay's communities, and a way of life that has existed for thousands of years," said Tim Bristol, Director of Trout Unlimited's Alaska Program. "We are confident that after the science and other public input are considered, the EPA and the Obama Administration will join Alaska Natives, chefs, restaurant owners, anglers, and hunters to protect the extraordinary region and its fisheries."

Read the letter to the EPA.

One of the participants in the Savor Bristol Bay Week was Miriam's Kitchen, a soup kitchen in D.C., which served wild Bristol Bay salmon cakes to the homeless. Get their delicious salmon cake recipe.

Salmon Conservation Updates

Chef Joel Chenet Travels to Alaska's Capital to Lobby for Bristol Bay

Credit: Nick Hall

As part of Savor Bristol Bay's "Chefs2BB" trip in 2010, Kodiak-based Chef Joel Chenet, owner of Mill Bay Coffee and Pastries, traveled to Bristol Bay to explore and learn about our nation's greatest wild salmon fishery firsthand. Since then, Chef Chenet has become an active advocate for the protection of Bristol Bay's salmon fishery, including a recent trip to Alaska's capital to meet with State Legislators and discuss the future of Bristol Bay and threats posed by the proposed Pebble Mine. Also part of the meetings were Bristol Bay residents and salmon fishermen from around the state.

During his visit, Chef Chenet prepared a savory wild Bristol Bay salmon spread for state decision-makers, staff, and members of the Bristol Bay fishing fleet who all came together to celebrate Bristol Bay's salmon fisheries and the communities and culture that they support.

»Read more about Chef Chenet's trip and learn how to make his prized Salmon Rumaki

Study Puts Economic Output of Southeast Alaska Salmon Near $1 Billion

Credit: Nelli Williams
In January, an economic study commissioned by Trout Unlimited came out showing that wild salmon in Southeast Alaska - home to the Tongass National Forest - are worth nearly $1 billion. This total includes commercial, sport, and subsistence salmon fisheries, all of which are critical components of Southeast Alaska's communities, economy, and lifestyle.

With these telling results in hand, TU has begun to do outreach throughout Southeast Alaska, talking with local residents, fishermen, and others about the critical and fascinating relationships between salmon and forests. As Alaska Program Director Tim Bristol notes, this study is just the first step in changing the way forest resource issues are debated in Southeast Alaska. Rather than timber in the Tongass being perceived as the primary product coming from the Tongass National Forest, TU hopes to shift that focus to salmon and have the Tongass National Forest be seen (and appreciated) for what it is: a true Salmon Forest.

»Read the full story

»Read the full economic report (PDF)

Martorana Family Winery: Leading the Fish and Farm Movement

On cold spring mornings in Sonoma County, CA, frost can be a major threat to budding vines. One of the methods that winegrape farmers use to frost protect those vines is to divert water from local creeks.

Unfortunately, such diversions can impact local salmon and steelhead populations. Fortunately, forward-thinking and committed farmers and vintners like Martorana Family Winery have piloted solutions that change the dialog from one about fish versus farms to fish and farms.

Located on Grape Creek in the Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County, the Martorana Family has a tradition of land and water stewardship -- practicing organic farming and undertaking a whole suite of restoration projects, including enhancing fish habitat, modifying vines and roads to accommodate the creek channel, and installing a green winery roof.

In partnership with the Russian River Coho Water Resources Partnership and Trout Unlimited, Martorana Family Winery initiated a dramatic change in its water management for frost protection. The Winery retired its frost protection water diversion from Grape Creek and switched instead to the use of a frost fan. The fan prevents cold air from settling in the vineyard and freezing the newly budded grapes. And because the fan offsets the use of creek water, it directly benefits endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead trout in Grape Creek and the Russian River watershed. In fact, coho were seen in Grape Creek this winter for the first time in over ten years.

Healthy salmon populations and good wine: we can all toast to that.


While eating wild salmon is one of the best and easiest ways you can invest in a sustainable future for our wild salmon fisheries, you can also vote with your fork for SalmonSafe foods and wines that were grown and harvested in ways that are safe for wild salmon and their habitat.

»Learn more about the SalmonSafe program and find out which products are SalmonSafe.

From the Kitchen

Ted O'Hirok, WhyWild follower and salmon lover, shared this delicious wild salmon recipe with us:

1 pound wild salmon
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons brown mustard
2-4 slices of onion
1 lemon, juiced

Drizzle lemon juice onto salmon fillet(s), let stand for 5 minutes.
Put oil, mustard, and onion together in processor and blend till it becomes a paste.
Rub paste onto non-skin side of salmon fillet and let stand for 15 minutes.
Broil (or grill) for ~18 minutes (more/less depending on preference).

What's your favorite way to cook wild salmon? Send it to us at and we'll feature it in the next WhyWild eNewsletter.

Fire Up Your Grills

Fire and Flavor Grilling Company is continuing their offer to donate all proceeds from "Savor Bristol Bay" cedar plank sales to Trout Unlimited's Save Bristol Bay campaign. It's an easy and delicious way to directly support the campaign to save our last great wild salmon fishery.

»Order today.