The fight for sustainable and healthier foodways is happening in our very own backyard or, to be more specific, the Fishman’s Terminal near the Ballard Bridge on the Westside of Seattle.
Pete Knutson, a local fisherman with a doctorate who teaches Anthropology at Seattle Central Community College has been fighting to keep developers out of the Fisherman’s Port for years. This time around the Port commission is threatening to impose a $25 daily tax (read: $750 a month) on businesses like Knutson’s Loki Fish for selling fish directly out of the terminal, and has threatened to disrupt business by removing valuable storage space for port fisherman, under the guise that the buildings aren’t fire-safe.
The Port and its commissioners should support local industry and culture instead of posing a threat. These fishermen, already competing with farmed salmon (a much less sustainable, but cheaper source of salmon), are being faced with potential fees and sanctions that discourage and disrupt the healthy flow of businesses. These fees not only discourage the growth of sustainable food industry as whole, but this slow shifting of priorities away from the fisherman threatens a precious livelihood to which Seattle owes much of its charm and appeal. Suspicions about the Port slowly being turned over to developers may seem a little far-fetched, but as the fisherman are the only stakeholders left in the Port who are preventing further development, it can easily be seen why inching them out slowly over time through lack of support could look a little—dare I say—fishy.
Unfortunately the effects have been showing for years. Fourteen years ago, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife issued 1,132 salmon gill-net licenses for Puget Sound. The number dropped to 204 in 2004. The Port is one of the last remaining homes in the state for these fishermen. Supporting local businesses as well as sustainable agriculture should be a priority for all major cities. It is apparent that new policies are needed to simultaneously promote environmental health, economic profitability, and social and economic equity—not discourage it. This change occurs when we get involved in our local politics.
I must admit, having tasted the superior quality of the salmon from Knutson Family-owned company Loki Fish, I am pretty biased. But I’ll let you be the judge of the issue:
Click here for an interview with Pete Knutson.
For information published in Seattle Times, Seattle P-I, and other local Seattle Papers go to the scrapbook at Loki Fish website click here.
It’s simply delicious, sustainably caught salmon from a family-owned business that makes you feel good, is good for you, and is good for the earth…sound familiar?