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A Message from our CEO about Coronavirus

What COVID-19 means for us, our fishermen, and our community

A Message from our CEO about Coronavirus

Today, halibut and black cod season open under a cloud of uncertainty, as a result of COVID-19.

While small-boat Alaskan fishermen like ours are the embodiment of resilience and persistence in the face of uncertainty, we now face times so confusing that even their determination and grit will be tested.

Truth is, the fleet and the crew at Sitka Salmon Shares (as well as anyone who fishes for a living) have had their eye on COVID-19 for quite some time. This is because around two-thirds of Alaska’s fish--its commodity product--is shipped to China for processing before being shipped across the world, where it is sold at grocery stores and by internet providers, including ones in the United States. Of course, our fish doesn't go to China, and it never will. Our transparent supply chain ensures our members know the path their fish takes from when it's caught all the way to their doorstep. But all of these fishing communities are profoundly connected to these global markets.

In the last few months, we’ve watched America’s small-scale fishermen struggle immensely, often because of a lack of markets caused by the COVID-19 outbreak in China or because larger buyers were concerned about the risks they faced in holding onto this inventory in these very uncertain times.

Now, those risks are shared by everyone in our community as the realities of this unusual time are more clearly viewed on our shores.

Of course, for those who understand our company, our mission, and our values, you probably have anticipated the steps we’re taking. We’ve significantly expanded paid sick leave for our entire team, while rapidly building policies to take care of those who are the most vulnerable among us and the most likely to be affected by the current social and economic dislocation. These social priorities align with our priorities for your health and safety. Internally, we’re following the most cautious interpretations of the directives shared to us by the CDC and local and state health departments on top of the local, state, and federal regulations we always follow to ensure your safety. We’ve got all hands on deck to ensure the safety of our product and we’re developing a comprehensive guide for you that will be released in the coming days to provide full transparency for this process.

And, of course, there’s our fleet--the harbingers of these changes and the reason for this community of ours. You are here and reading this because you believe in a safe, healthy, and fair seafood system that, we believe, is even more needed in times like these. As a CSF member (or hopefully soon one!), you’ve committed to fair and consistent pricing to support small-scale fishermen and we are going further by rapidly developing additional assistance for them in this time of uncertainty.

At Sitka Salmon Shares, we’ve always been inspired by the power of information to break down barriers, build consensus, add some fun, and even be a bit magical. In that, I’d love for you to join me in a virtual “Lunch and Learn” e-seminar from noon-1pm CT on Monday, March 30th. In this Lunch and Learn, we'll explore the effects of COVID-19 on America’s domestic fishermen. In the process, we’ll learn about globalization, fish pricing dynamics, and the marginalization of small-scale fishermen in the commodity system.

Click the Google Calendar button below to add this Lunch and Learn to your calendar.

Of course, if you have any questions, concerns, or thoughts to share, please feel free to respond to this email or reach out to our Salmon Support team at salmonsupport@sitkasalmonshares.com.

CEO and Professor Nic Mink

Anchored in our community,
- Nic Mink, Co-Founder and CEO

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