The world’s biggest sockeye fishery at Bristol Bay is living up to its name with a catch approaching 25 million so far. Many of the reds will soon be showcased during an expanded program that builds on the success of a Colorado project last fall.
“And during that time our partners did see an 8-14 percent lift in sales compared to year over year. So based on those results we decided to move forward and continue with some expansion and keep building on that brand in other markets.”
Becky Martello is director of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, which is bankrolling the branding program with a one percent tax paid by driftnet fishermen on the landed value of their catch.
The Wild Taste, Amazing Place project tested the waters for three months last fall at retail stores in one city – Boulder. That success prompted the push to broaden the promotion –
“So it’s a bit early yet for me to disclose who but we are looking at more regional based chains rather than just focusing on one city as we did in Boulder.”
In partnership with Anchorage-based Rising Tide Communications, the group has created in-store videos and images, special recipes, chef specials, right down to fish wrapping paper and stickers bearing the Bristol Bay logo. A key, Martello says, is training the people behind the seafood counters.
“Everything we did was to reinforce the brand and to educate the retail staff so they could be champions of the brand and really sell it to consumers and be educated about why Bristol Bay is a good choice and that they are supporting small boat fishermen.”
Support for the program has been strong all along the supply chain, and especially from Bay processors.
“I feel like we’ve really opened the door for communication and collaboration between us as a fishermen’s group and the processing sector.”
Five processors this year will send out their sockeyes with 200,000 labels featuring the Wild Taste, Amazing Place brand. Learn more at www.bristolbaysockeye.org