The truly spectacular quality of Alaskan seafood is one of the most notorious open secrets in our country: there is simply nothing that comes even close within the realm of seafood, either in the US or internationally. Whether it’s a big fresh salmon fillet or a succulent jumbo crab leg or platter of scallops, everyone knows that Alaskan seafood products achieve the absolute pinnacle of flavor, texture, and overall quality. Yet the reasons behind this are not so well known, not by the average seafood lover in any case. The factors that have helped shape Alaska’s fisheries over the long run – such as incredibly low human population density – are what really keep the quality high, the flavor unbeatable, and sustainability at the forefront of it all.
Alaska is our last great frontier, as many of us (especially those with a love for the great outdoors) know: no other state is as wild and untamed, as pristine and unspoiled. Large settlements that began well over a hundred years ago have barely managed to make their way past the south-eastern corner of the state, leaving the vast majority of Alaska’s territory relatively open and natural. This low human population density has many implications, all of which are incredibly good for the marine wildlife of the North Pacific: there is less runoff from roads; there is less industrial waste and toxins seeping into water bodies; and there is, as a result, a much better chance for species to remain abundant and free from contamination – a problem that all of us are familiar with as we peruse the seafood aisle at our local supermarket.
Of course, the state government of Alaska is well aware of the advantages that come along with maintaining a relatively low human population density across most of the state and has done a great deal to keep development of land – especially near spawning and breeding grounds – at a minimum. As the seafood industry is Alaska’s economic mainstay, it is clearly in the state’s interest to avoid over-population and all the resulting problems that come with it. Hence, the state has stiff regulations in place on land development and furthermore defends the property claims of traditional native communities (that would have surely been relocated or pushed aside in most other states in the Union). The result is a naturally enchanting place that just so happens to catch and distribute the world’s very best seafood!