MJ Carroll and Eric Macias like fish. They also love the earth and want to be protectors, limiting their impact.
The two first met in Washington state. Carroll was working for a ski brand, but she yearned to return to her home in Durango, Colorado. Macias was living on his boat and catching fish for other people, but had his sights set on starting a company of his own.
Aligning their goals with a focus on sustainability, they created Silver Wave Seafood Co., a Community Supported Seafood ( C.S.S) company that brings fresh-frozen, wild-caught fish and smoked canned fish from Southeast Alaska to Southwest Colorado, making it accessible to the outdoor community looking for a healthy, easy alternative to take into the backcountry.
"There a lot of options to buy fresh seafood when you are on the coast, but when you are in a landlocked community, your options are meager," Carroll tells ASN. "There is either suspect farmed fish – that who knows where it has been – from your chain grocery store, or over-priced seafood in the natural food stores with no connection to the fisherman. So we’re able to offer a product that gives people fresh catch from Alaska at a reasonable price. We are able to do that because of the volume we catch, sell, and bring down, only once a year."
Every June, Macias picks up his boat in Seattle and heads up to Alaska to fish all summer. The fish that he catches is immediately taken to a local cannery independently-owned-and-operated by an Alaskan native.
There, the fish is either frozen fresh into 1 lb. filets, or canned and smoked, and then stored until orders are filled. The fish is sent via barge to Seattle, then driven to Southern Colorado; Silver Wave does not use air travel in order to minimize their impact.
"We live in a society where we expect everything to be delivered overnight, when in reality there is a time of year – a season – for salmon," says Carroll. "We will never turn into a year round business; we want people to understand the seasonality of salmon. Wild salmon only runs once a year, so we only fish once a year in order to keep populations sustainable.”
“We want our members to appreciate this and we think that they do,” she adds. “If they want to, [they can] stock up and enjoy our wild salmon all year. Frankly, it tastes better this way."
Eventually Silver Wave would like to expand to other mountain communities (if it is sustainable), but for now they are happy with their local success. (Carroll’s native community of Durango has instantly embraced Silver Wave.)
Although you have to live in Southern Colorado to be a part of Silver Wave’s C.S.S. subscription service, you can order their canned products if you live elsewhere (but take note that they do not ship overnight or air.)
The beauty of Silver Wave’s canned smoked salmon is that there are only three ingredients – salmon, salt and a little bit of sugar. The salmon is smoked with alder wood and makes a great snack right out of the can. If you don’t have a spoon or fork, we suggest scooping it with some blue corn chips – the two pair nicely. Note: don’t forget you’ll need a can opener or a multi-utensil for this in the wilderness.
What we really love about this camp food alternative is that it’s packed with protein – 1 can of smoked coho has 12 grams of protein, and 3 grams of the good type of Omega 3 fats. To boot, it requires zero refrigeration (added bonus for those long outdoor trips) and has a shelf life of 3 years.
To the delight of many pescatarians out there who struggle to find sustainable seafood, as well as packable high-protein snack options, Silver Wave has provided a perfect solution.
To get you prepped for your next adventure, Carroll and Macias have shared their favorite salmon recipe.
Silver Wave’s Sustainable Green Chile Salmon Cakes
-1 can of smoked Silver Wave Coho salmon
-½ cup of Panko breadcrumbs
-1 red bell pepper
-5-6 roasted hatch chiles
-1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
-Salt & pepper
-Lemon juice and/or aioli
– Chop onion, bell pepper and roasted hatch chiles.
– Combine salmon with chopped veggies, panko, eggs. Add salt and pepper and mix
-Cover mixture and refrigerate (or pop in a cooler) for 10-15 mins.
-Add olive oil to skillet on high heat.
-Form handfuls of mixture into patties and coat with remaining panko.
-Cook on skillet for 5 to 6 minutes on each side until crispy. Cool and serve with squeezed lemon or aioli on top!
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