Alaskan Salmon Purse Seining


A purse seine is a large wall of netting deployed around an entire area or school of fish.

The seine has floats along the top line with a lead line threaded through rings along the bottom. Once a school of fish is located, a skiff encircles the school with the net. The lead line is then pulled in, “pursing” the net closed on the bottom, preventing fish from escaping by swimming downward.


  • Purse seines can reach more than 6,500 ft (2,000 m) in length and 650 ft (200 m) in depth, varying in size according to the vessel, mesh size, and target species.
  • Finding a school of fish is one of the most difficult steps of this fishing technique and include:
    • Natural cues such as a congregation of seabirds, ruffling of surface water and/or fast moving groups of dolphins.
    • Helicopters scanning the water for natural cues from the air to direct boats toward schooling fish.
    • Using radar fish finders to help identify the exact location and size of a school.

There are other types of catching salmon such as gill netting and trolling employed in Alaska and other American coastal waters.


Fish Profile: Flounder


Description: Flounder are the most important flatfish family. Their Latin name, Pleuronectidae, means “sideswimmer” because they start out as round fish, but as they mature and become bottom-dwellers, one eye migrates to the same side of the head as the other eye and the fish actually swim on their sides.

Fish Characteristics: Market size is 1 to 5 pounds, according to species. Flounder are known for their fine, tender, yet firm texture and have delicate, sweet flavor.

How to Choose: Some processors used tripolyphosphates to increase moisture levels and extend the shelf life of frozen, defrosted flounder fillets. This also adds water weight to the fish. If the fillets are abnormally wet or overly inexpensive they may have been treated.

Common Flavor Combinations: Bell pepper, butter, chervil, chives, cream, dill, fennel, gruyère cheese, lemon, mint, mushroom, parmesan cheese, parsley, shallot, spinach, tarragon, tomato, white vermouth, white wine, zucchini.


Shellfish Profile: Oysters


Description: Oysters are saltwater bivalve mollusks. Because oysters filter so much seawater, they are high in minerals. The risk in eating wild oysters is diminishing thanks to strict guidelines and monitoring of oyster beds. Wild oysters are at their best in the winter, with the main season lasting from late September to May. Oysters spawn in summer months; though edible, they tend to be flabby and insipid, the reason they are traditionally only eaten in months with names containing an R. Farm-raised oysters can be eaten year-round.

Shellfish Characteristics: American oysters have a moderately deep, elongated, rough-textured shell that is grayish white to grayish brown. The tender meat is salty with a meaty texture.

How to choose: Choose oysters without broken shells that are tightly closed. Tap on the shell. If it closes, the animal is alive. A dead oyster will have an unpleasant sulfur smell. Shucked oysters should be smooth and plump and covered in clear, grayish liquid with a briny scent.

Common flavor combinations: Bay leaf, black pepper, butter, cream, Dijon mustard, fennel, hot red pepper, lemon, Pernod, sesame, shallot, soy sauce, spinach, thyme, white wine.

Chris Cosentino “Chef Unleashed”

One of my favorite “celebrity” chefs is Chris Cosentino of the restaurant Incanto.  You may also know him from episodes of such shows as: No Reservations, Next Iron Chef, Top Chef Masters, Chef vs. City, etc.  About a 1 1/2 years ago he worked on the pilot for a show called, “Chef Unleashed.”  Unfortunately this show was never taken up and rejected.  What follows is the video of his pilot.  Cosentino described the show,

“The impulse behind the show was simple:  Everybody onboard loves food, is fascinated by where it comes from, and is not squeamish about how to get it, whether it might be game hunted on open terrain or tuna hand-gaffed by blood-soaked Sicilian fisherman, a tradition that goes back 1,000 years.  As the guys wrote in their proposal, “Chef Unleashed invites the viewer on a global eating exploration.  It’s a new kind of reality show, about where good food really comes from—when it’s done right.”

The show could be pretty graphic in parts and Chris Cosentino knew that,

“Yes, we were pretty aware that we were, to repeat the phrase, pushing the envelope with this.  And I admit, it was pretty gory stuff.  If you watch, you’ll see my very real reaction to it.  But this was not – at all – about shock value.  This was all about getting down to the very source of the very best food and showing where it comes from.  People who know me know I’ve been waging war against our Styrofoam-wrapped, hormone-pumped supermarket culture my entire career.”

Chef Unleashed from Chris Cosentino on Vimeo.