Remember this picture from Co-op Month 2016? It features some of the hardworking, talented fishermen who own the Seafood Producers Cooperative! This co-op is North America’s oldest, highly-successful fishermen’s cooperative, founded over 70 years ago by halibut fishermen in Seattle, Washington. Membership in the Seafood Producers Cooperative grew over the years into a co-op of over 575 fishermen providing the highest quality fish to dinner plates around the world. Over the years, one promise has held true – fishermen own the cooperative and exercise control over fishing techniques and quality standards. Surely, fish from the Seafood Producers Cooperative tastes great!
The story begins over 70 years ago when fish caught at sea would travel from middleman to middleman before reaching consumers. Halibut fishermen in Washington knew their product quality decreased with each successive step in the chain; but their ability to fish and sell at the same time was too daunting of a task to complete on their own. The fisherman formed a cooperative to take control of the sea-to-plate pathway by which their product traveled.
The fishermen joined forces to process, package, and sell their fish together while also being able to focus on their craft – catching the best fish in the North Pacific. The cooperative, owned by the fishermen themselves, provided the opportunity for the fishermen to get the fairest price for their product as well as access processing and packaging services that would have been impossible had they worked on their own.
The scale of the cooperative reduced processing and packaging costs for the fishermen, allowing them to cut out the middlemen and pocket more money for their hard work. Through the co-op structure, the fishermen retained any profits made by the group. Receiving maximum returns and benefiting from the co-op’s scale, the Seafood Producers Cooperative attracted more and more fishermen. The organization grew, and product offerings expanded.
Today, the co-op’s 575 fishermen challenge one another to constantly bring the highest quality of fish to consumers. After all, members of a cooperative looking after one another, benefits everyone. Each catch is made by hook and line methods, and these high quality standards continue through every step of the processing chain going fish-by-fish – “One Hook, One Fish At A Time” – right to your dinner plate.
The Seafood Producers Cooperative has given these small boat fishermen, from California to Alaska, the ability to make a living doing what they love, all while providing the highest quality of fish to consumers. Today, fish from the Seafood Producers Cooperative is sold throughout the world. Products include Alaska Gold™ King Salmon, Alaska Gold™ Coho Salmon, Alaska Gold™ Keta Salmon, Alaska Gold™ Frozen At Sea Salmon, Alaska Gold™ Halibut, California Gold™ King Salmon, SPC Sablefish (Black Cod), and SPC Brand™ Line-Caught Albacore Tuna.