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For many of us Westerners, dinner doesn’t get any better than a buttery side of rich pink salmon. Plus, it’s our heritage fish, a centuries-old food for all who have lived along the Pacific. But order it from a waiter or at a fish counter these days, and the person next to you might hiss. That’s because stocks in certain areas of the Pacific are crashing, and farm-raised salmon are tagged as polluting and disease-spreading. What’s a salmon lover to do?
At risk of getting the fish-eye ourselves, we’re here to tell you that you can eat salmon without fear of social ruin. For a start, always go with wild over farmed: All salmon fisheries off the West Coast are responsibly managed, so any salmon from these waters is sustainably caught. Wild salmon stocks from Alaska are particularly healthy and strong, and Oregon salmon from north of Cape Falcon (on the coast roughly west of Portland) are doing well too. So are salmon fished off of Washington.
Take one of these wild fish home, grill it until it’s crispy on the edges, and savor it with a good glass of Pinot—and a clear conscience. Because the West doesn’t taste any better than this.