Award-winning author Jenny Jefferies, whose two previous books celebrating the best of small-scale British seafood and fishing businesses were featured in FN, launched her latest title this March. A lavishly produced book, Islands in a Common Sea looks at artisanal fishermen and farmers around the world, showcasing their traditional, sustainable production methods alongside traditional recipes for their produce.

Here, in an exclusive extract (first featured in Fishing News newspaper back on 28 March), we bring you a portrait of a thriving Alaskan wild salmon business, operated by two sisters who grew up in the fishery. At a time when intensively farmed salmon is coming under ever more scrutiny on a variety of fronts including pollution, animal welfare and the devastating impact that farms have on wild salmon populations, it is a timely reminder of the sustainable contribution that well managed fisheries can make to food security.

Such food isn’t just more sustainable in the long term, providing a real link between the consumer and the fisheries that they are buying from – it also tastes much, much better!

Islands in a Common Sea is available at all good bookshops and online, including Waterstones and Amazon, price £35.

For every copy sold, £2 will be donated to the UN World Food Programme to support its ShareTheMeal campaign, which includes emergency school meals programmes around the world.

Read the extract from Islands in a Common Sea here…

Salmon Sisters: sharing Alaska’s wild catch with the world

The ocean has provided our family with good food, meaningful work and a livelihood that defines us. Our days revolve around the tides, the fish and the weather in a fluid rhythm of the seasons. We spend our days with our family working on Alaska’s North Pacific Ocean, bringing nourishment, good health and a good story to the people who enjoy our wild catch.

Alaska’s fisheries are managed responsibly, which means we can look forward to many more years of fishing with our family. We’re proud that the role we play in the delicate balance of harvesting wild seafood is forward-thinking and sustainable, and proud that each year our ocean continues to run wild with marine life.

The Salmon Sisters, Emma Teal Privat and Claire Neaton.

To us, the fish we harvest are much more than a commodity to catch and sell; they are both a source of nourishment and a connection to the wild places where we live and work. We are proud to share the bounty of the ocean with the world because we know the physical strength, mental grit, bravery and sacrifice that goes into working at sea. We also know the joys that accompany this work – the rich heritage, freedom, camaraderie, ingenuity, enterprise, nourishment and stewardship. Fishing is more than an occupation; it is a way of life.

Sometimes it seems as though we are made of salmon – it is the food we most often shared around our table, the fish we spend our summer season harvesting, the resource that defines our state’s wild abundance, and the seasonal tradition that we celebrate in Alaska.

Our home is one of the last great places on earth where wild salmon thrive and return each year. For Alaskans, salmon are more than just a fish; they inspire our way of life. Salmon shape our livelihoods, connect us to our land and our traditions, nourish our bodies and souls, and inspire creativity and adventure.

We’ve spent every summer since we were born in Alaska, following the lifecycle of salmon. As kids, we spent our days catching wild salmon in our mom’s net, hauling them up the beach to the fish cleaning table in the tall beach grass, then filleting, stripping and brining them for our family’s smokehouse. Our salmon were hung to dry in the Aleutian wind, slowly seasoned with cottonwood smoke from driftwood logs washed up in front of our homestead and salt from the sea.

That smoked salmon was our family’s most valuable gift – what we brought to friends when we visited, what we sent in the mail to our relatives living in land-locked America, what we served when special guests sat around our kitchen table, and what our parents sent us in care packages when we were far away at college.

The sisters at work.

Giving salmon has always been our family’s most sincere form of love – a gift precious with wild nutrients to make our minds, bodies and community vibrant and strong. A gift that has taken a recipe of weather, tides, time and energy to harvest, prepare and share.

We have carried our family’s tradition of giving fish into our business and we’re proud that through our company, Salmon Sisters, we are able to give back to our community in the sincerest way we know how: by sharing delicious, healthy, wild Alaska salmon with the people who need it most.

Our Give Fish Project donates wild salmon to the Food Bank of Alaska to fill plates with nourishing fish. The salmon we give is harvested by hardworking fishermen, who have dedicated their lives to braving the seas to catch fish that feed the world with nutrient-rich, responsibly caught protein.

Salmon Sisters is a creative way to thank the ocean for all it has given us. We work hard to celebrate the beautiful creatures living under the waves and the North Pacific’s thriving fisheries, so that others begin to understand how important they are to all our lives. We also work hard to inspire the next generation of fishermen as stewards, advocates, business owners and community leaders.

Today’s generation faces new challenges like changing oceans, volatile global markets and rising entry costs. Fishermen can be great spokespeople for the future of their industry, coastal communities and the marine ecosystem, because their life and work are so intimately embedded in the ocean’s future.

We hope to share our knowledge and love of the sea with our children, as our parents shared theirs with us, so that they too can feel the power of the waves, revel in the beautiful sparkle of a fresh salmon’s scales, and spend their days closely connected to nature and the creatures that share this wild home.

Islands in a Common Sea by Jenny Jefferies is out now.

Enter now to win a copy of Islands in a Common Sea with Fishing News!

We have THREE copies of Jenny Jefferies’ Islands in a Common Sea to give away in our latest completion! To enter for free simply click here and answer the very simple question.

This competition closes on 25 June. Good luck!

This story was taken from the March issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here

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