We’re working to refresh, restore, and recreate our great Salish Sea Waters.

SalishCenter.org is a sustainable fishing organization that is inviting you to join us in our effort to prevent the tragic loss of the Salish Sea’s unparalleled beauty and pristine waters from overfishing. It is not too late to save the majestic orcas and the rich abundance of our salmon populations. Through our habitat protection and restoration work, we encourage the viability and expansion of reefnet fishing and all selective and sustainable fishing practices.

By strengthening our wild salmon runs, we will in turn allow the survival of our southern resident orcas, along with all interdependent species, thereby making the Salish Sea the most sustainable chinook salmon fishing region in the world.

We Advocate for the Protection and Restoration of the Salish Sea

  • Protecting and restoring habitat throughout shorelines, rivers, and streams.
  • Advocating for dam removal or passageways to allow salmon to migrate.
  • Using sustainable fishing practices and selective salmon harvests through reefnet fishing, practiced by Salish Peoples for centuries.
  • Providing educational programs for the practice of reefnet fishing.
  • Developing a Salish Sea Certifieddesignation for seafood harvested from these waters.
  • Researching and growing seaweed farms that sequester carbon, reverse local ocean acidification, clean sea water, and provide cover for fish.
  • Sponsoring Chefs in Raingearongoing hands-on fishing adventures on beautiful Lummi Island with gourmet dinners presented by award-winning chefs and winemakers.
  • Commissioning a life-sized sculpture of two orcas, entitled Mother & Child, created for prominent placement in a public space.

Join us as we work together with determination and dedication. We can do it—We should and we must if our region and its beautiful waterways and sea-life are to survive.

What is Reefnet Fishing and Why is it so Important?

Reefnet Fishing

The reefnet fishery, the oldest and most sustainable salmon net fishery in the world, was originally practiced by the Coast Salish People for a millennium. It is a passive fishery that has a tiny carbon footprint compared to other gear types.

Unlike other fisheries, Reefnet fishing allows for a totally selective salmon harvest, allowing Chinook and other fragile species to be released unharmed while retaining the targeted species.

Why is Reefnet Fishing So Important

Over the past 125 years, native fishers were pushed out of the Reefnet fishery and are only now beginning to reclaim it as their own. During that time, healthy salmon runs have allowed for unsustainable fishing methods that proliferated with little identifiable harm, until now.

Because multiple salmon species travel together in the same schools, when they are harvested they are all taken and killed together. Thus killing species that are more fragile. In today’s fragile Salish Sea, these practices are no longer acceptable.

What is Salish Center Doing to Make our Future Brighter?

Salish Center is focusing public awareness on the success stories, and the problems that face the Salish Sea. By raising awareness, we broaden our understanding, hope and enthusiasm, showing us that we can make a difference through our own involvement and support. There are a number of ways we do this:

  • At our Meet & Greet social gatherings we discuss issues, make friends, and learn about the Salish Sea.
  • Our Salish Sea Certified tag identifies salmon by its origin, raising awareness.
  • Dinners with local chefs, fund raisers, and work parties, all spread the word and raise awareness about overfishing solutions.

The Salish Sea Certified Program

We are spearheading a program to have the Salish Sea recognized as a “Domaine of Origin,” much like wine and cheese domaines. The purpose of this is to educate the public about the amazing bounty of our marine waters, encourage them to protect their habitat, and to purchase local seafood:

  • The Salish Sea Certified Medallion identifies the origin of the seafood.Currently seafood is not identified by its place of origin, whether it comes from the Salish Sea, Alaska, or the Coast
  • There is an enormous difference in the flavor and texture of our seafood based on where it is harvested
  • Unless the consumer is aware that this crab, halibut, or salmon is harvested in the Salish Sea, they are unable to support our local waters

We Have an Amazing Community

Each of our team of inspiring board members have their own connection with the Salish Sea:

Larry Mellum, our Board President, is founder of Pike Place Chowder. His restaurant has 7 First Place Awards for Best Chowder in the USA! He is invested in seeing that our valuable resource, the Salish Sea, and its inhabitants, are healthy and protected.

Daisy Berg, our secretary, has a deep connection to the Salish Sea, as the seafood manager for 2 grocery store chains in the Northwest.

Lucas Kinley carries the ancestral fishing knowledge of his legendary Lummi family of “high-liners”— fishers still spoken of with reverence.

Zach Olson is now a now a wine consultant and event organizer, but he began his working life in seafood restaurants where he developed an appreciation for the delicacies of the Salish Sea, and the importance of its survival.

Riley Starks is the founder of Salish Center and a self-taught fisher who has worked the same waters of the Salish Sea for almost 50 years, focusing on Reefnet fishing for the past 25 years.

Read more about our amazing board members by clicking the button below.