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This Illinois Professor Helps Bring Sustainable Seafood to Your Door

Thanks to an Illinois professor and an Alaska fisherman, you can get a monthly seafood subscription box shipped right to your Midwest home.

In 2011, environmental studies professor Nicolaas Mink wanted to pay interns to aid his work in Alaska. He brought 750 pounds of fish home to Galesburg, Illinois, and sold it to his Knox College colleagues, who raved that they’d never cooked such good fish. Inspired, Nic and second-generation fisherman Marsh Skeele launched Sitka Salmon Shares. The vision: Make great seafood available anywhere in the Midwest by linking a cooperative of fishermen directly with home cooks.

Boat

Photo by Kelley Jordan Schuyler.

Sitka Salmon Shares works a little like a CSA farm. As a subscriber, you receive boxes of sustainable seafood that was harvested from Alaska’s pristine waters by Sitka’s 20 fishermen (and women), blast-frozen on shore, and sent to the Midwest for packaging and shipment to you. It’s way more green than flying in fresh fish, and it’s traceable. You know who caught your dinner and how. And equally important, Nic says, fishermen know where their hard-won catch goes.

Box

Photo by Brie Passano.

That transparency translates into taste. Most fish we buy at supermarkets has defrosted several times on its ’round-the-globe trip to our tables. Much is mislabeled. Some is spoiled. When you thaw Nic and Marsh’s fish, you unlock flavor that’s sweet and clean, never fishy or mealy. “Midwesterners are used to eating fish that’s about 15 days into its shelf life,” Nic says. “For all intents and purposes, ours is 45 minutes out of the water.”

Founders

Sitka Salmon Shares founders Marsh Skeele (left) and Nic Mink. Photo by Bethany Goodrich.

Off the Hook

Sitka Salmon Shares primarily uses hook-and-line fishing. Besides being more eco-friendly and humane, this labor-intensive method yields better flavor because the animals are harvested with care, individually.

Halibut

Photo by Kelley Jordan Schuyler.

Fish By Mail

Each Sitka Salmon Shares box includes several pounds of wild-caught seafood (salmon, halibut, cod, prawns and less familiar varieties like yelloweye) plus recipes and stories about the families who catch your food. From $87 per month. sitkasalmonshares.com

Browse our favorite salmon recipes here.

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