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Seattle Chef Stops Serving Chinook
Salmon to Help Dwindling Orca Population

by Mary Nam
KOMO News, June 16, 2023

A young resident killer whale chases a chinook salmon near Vancouver Island. (Photograph by John Durban/NOAA SEATTLE -- Seattle chef Renee Erickson loves seafood, and her restaurants like The Whale Wins in Fremont are famous for dishing up all kinds of bounties from the sea with one exception: chinook salmon.

The James Beard award winning chef permanently removed chinook salmon -- also known as king salmon - from her menu in 2018.

"Most people didn't even notice," Erickson said. "It's not like it was this big to-do where we were making a grand gesture." She said the plight of the southern resident orcas motivated her to shift towards sustainability.

In 2018 the world watched as a J-Pod female known as Tahlequah carried its dead newborn calf for 17 days. The native orca population is dwindling as is the whales' main food source: chinook salmon.

Erickson's decision caught the attention of animal welfare organization Center for a Humane Economy, which recently launched a campaign called "Swear Off King Salmon."

The nonprofit's vice president Jennifer Ashton McCausland said the campaign is a simple ask, bringing a conservation effort directly to consumers. And she was thrilled to see the response has been supportive.

"So far, people have said yeah, I can do that. On Facebook and social media, people are saying we'll do that."

She told KOMO News that the overall big picture is more complicated -- including protecting salmon runs and drastically reducing vessel noise and boat traffic. Those are issues that need legislative support.

But choosing not to buy chinook is easy. She said if enough people participate -- it just might help an endangered species that needs all the help it can get.

Related Pages:
Lawsuit Threatens Washington's Commercial Fishing Families by Pillen & Granger, Bellingham Herald, 3/10/23
Southeast Trollers Appreciate Support Amid 'Misguided' Lawsuit by Casey Mapes, Juneau Empire, 3/7/23
Lawsuit Over Southeast Alaska Fisheries Makes Waves Locally by Derek Firenze, The Leader, 3/2/23

Mary Nam
Seattle Chef Stops Serving Chinook Salmon to Help Dwindling Orca Population
KOMO News, June 16, 2023

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