Sockeye Salmon

(The "Salmon Lover's Salmon")


Sockeye weigh between 6 and 9 lbs h/g and are deep red in color (sockeye eat predominantly pink colored shrimp and krill) with a mild flavor so exquisite that it is considered to be the "salmon lover's salmon." In our first year of operation (2004), we became aware of and obtained extremely high quality sockeye salmon from a small village on the shores of Chignik Bay in Alaska's Aleutian Peninsula.  For the first time in the state's history a fishermen's cooperative, the Chignik Seafood Producers Alliance, had been given an allocation of the salmon run to be harvested.  This bold initiative radically changed the way salmon are caught in Chignik allowing fishermen to take new measures that greatly improve the quality of the product.  The fishermen have named their sockeye salmon "Castle Cape Reds" after the cape that marks the entrance to Chignik Bay, to distinguish this premium product and the unique cooperative that produces it.  The fish average about 8 lbs head off and they are deep red in color.

A number of factors associated with this unique fishery contribute to a higher quality product.  Because of the allocation, the fishermen can work together to spread the harvest over a much longer period and thus they can take several measures to enhance its quality.  Larger harvests over a longer time period allows the fishermen to take the time and effort to care for the fish properly. They can coordinate catches with frequent tender deliveries to the processing plant only minutes away, so the product arrives quickly in top condition.  At the plant, the fish receive the same careful attention. 

This new way of harvesting allows the cooperative to do something truly revolutionary with part of the allocation - deliveries of live salmon directly to the processing plant.  The salmon are caught in a traditional purse seine, then pumped directly from the net into circulating seawater in the tender, as depicted above.  The swimming salmon are then transferred live by the tender into net pens at the plant.  Here, they are held until processing. 

These live fish can be harvested and shipped on demand, for the highest grade of Alaska salmon available on the market today.  At the plant the salmon are bled, eviscerated, cleaned, placed in shaved ice and shipped overnight to our waiting refrigerated truck.  We receive them the day after they were swimming around, so they are very fresh.

In 2004, we enjoyed these premium sockeye salmon for a long period - June through early September.

The following year (2005), we broadened our base of suppliers by purchasing "Kenai Wild" sockeyes from Upper Cook Inlet (see map below) and landed at Soldotna on the Kenai Peninsula, one of the most picturesque regions in Alaska.  We bought only "premium" quality fish which were supplied by Cook Inlet Salmon under its "Kenai Wild" brand.  We consider these fish to be the equal in quality and flavor to the Chignik fishery described above.

sockeye salmon fillet

During the summer of 2006, we obtained our premium Upper Cook Inlet sockeye (as well as some king and coho salmon) from "Wild Harvest," the same company from which we often obtain halibut.  We have found these sockeyes to be very high quality.

Alaska's salmon fisheries have been certified as "sustainable" by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

MSC logo

map showing Cook Inlet, Kenai Peninsula and Kodiak Island, Alaska

Purse Seiner


Additional Pages

King and Coho Salmon


Sablefish (Blackcod)

Striped Bass or "Rockfish"


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Sailfish Jim

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Jim Chambers, Owner

Joe Boncore, Director of Operations

Prime Seafood, LLC,  9814 Kensington Parkway, Kensington, MD 20895  

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Updated 3/13/11