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Salmon Harvesting

Watch a video on how salmon are caught and processed.

The primary commercial method of catching salmon is via purse seine and gill nets.

Purse seiners primarily catch pink salmon. The boats are by Alaskan law are less than 58 feet in length. Purse seine fishing involves locating salmon and encircling the school with a large net that has a float line that keeps it on the surface and a weighted lead line on the bottom of the net that sinks the net vertically into the water. A smaller boat takes one end of the net and pulls it around the school and reconnects the net to the main fishing vessel. The purse line that runs through the bottom of the net up to the fishing vessel is slowly pulled tight using a hydraulic power block, closing the bottom of the net (like a purse string) to contain the school of fish. As the purse line and net is pulled aboard the boat, the circle gets smaller and the fish closer to the surface. At this point, the fish are dipped from the water into the fishing vessel hold where they are refrigerated for transfer to a tender that transports fish to the processing facility.

Gillnetters primarily catch the sockeye and chum salmon Bumble Bee cans. Gillnetters are typically 30 – 40 feet in length. They catch fish by setting curtain-like nets vertically into the water and perpendicular to the direction the fish are traveling as they migrate towards the coast towards their streams. Like the purse seine net, gillnets have a float line on top and a weighted lead line on the bottom. The mesh openings are designed to be just large enough to allow male fish, which are usually bigger, to get captured while avoiding capture of most smaller females. The net is retrieved on board hydraulically and the fish are hand picked out of the net as it is brought aboard. As with the purse seiners, fish are refrigerated for transfer to a tender and eventual transportation to processing facilities.

A note from our CEO about COVID-19x
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The coronavirus has changed life, as we knew it, forever. Most people will be touched in some way by the pandemic either physically, emotionally or financially. We’ve all heard heart-breaking stories from around the world about lives that have been lost and severe financial hardships caused by the sudden shutdown of so many businesses.

On behalf of all our team members around the globe, we extend our deepest sympathies to all that are struggling through personal challenges, whatever they may be, and we offer our sincerest gratitude to all the heroes who are helping those in need.

We’d also like to add how important it is for everyone to continue to do their part to slow the spread. Physical distancing is critical, and we must all take this seriously. We use the word “physical” because staying away from people in a physical way does not mean we should be neglecting the importance of social interactions, compassion and patience.

We are one of the largest providers of shelf-stable seafood and it is our honor and our responsibility to do our part, in every way we can, to help to keep people fed with affordable, nutritious protein. To that end, we’re continuing to run our factories in the US and Canada while our partners around the world continue to provide supply.

We take great pride in being a “people-first” company, so our decision to continue operations is done with utmost concern for the people making it possible. We’ve enhanced our safety measures to meet or exceed CDC guidelines and we have increased wages in our factories to assist employees dealing with the incremental costs of working and new, unexpected demands on their households.

We also take great pride in producing healthy, nutritious and safe products for our customers. Please know the manufacturing practices we follow year-round protect our both employees and the products they produce. Our facilities have very few people-to-product interactions, all products are sterilized in a high temperature oven and then packaged in highly automated production lines.

Beyond Bumble Bee, we’re continually looking for ways to extend our “people first” approach to make a meaningful impact. With so many people in need, we know this effort is more important than ever. We’re starting by donating more than $1 million in product to food banks in both the US and in Canada. And we will be looking for more opportunities to make a positive difference in the days to come.

Finally, I want to thank you, our loyal and new customers, for your support. We hope you find the recipes on our website helpful and easy to prepare. I also want to send a sincere thank you to our Bumble Bee Team and our valued supply partners around the world for their tireless efforts, particularly those working in sales, manufacturing, distribution and all our support roles, ensuring we can keep store and pantry shelves stocked.

Please continue to do your part to keep yourselves and your families safe during this truly unprecedented time.

With Gratitude,
CEO, Bumble Bee Seafoods