For the past 6 months we have been at a farm that has drastically under performed - so we made the difficult decision to reduce supply rather than relax our standards. Our time at the Bennett sea farm reminded us that even our best efforts, even all the passion and experience in the world sometimes isn't enough to overcome Mother Nature. The main problem was that we were limited to harvesting from this one area as the fish at our other farms in Nootka Sound were not mature and not ready to be harvested. It meant that we had no other options. Bennett's troubles were due to a lack of oxygen in the water because of a lack of storm activity in the fall (this meant less turbulence in the water column and less oxygen - when this happens fish struggle and can't be fed and they fail to thrive which causes other problems). The fish were smaller and less of them met the Skuna Bay standard (a quality criteria we weren't willing to bend). This is the one farm location where we see this.
Fortunately we are now moving back to the Nootka Sound farms Concepcion and Williamson for the rest of the year. These are great areas to raise fish: glacier fed waters, strong tidal currents, perfect salinity. We harvested our first fish this past week and they look spectacular. We are back at regular supply and of course happy to be again servicing our chef customers everywhere.
One thing we learned is that you must have a backup plan. If our fish at our other farms aren't ready then it would be nice to have a secondary / emergency supply available. So we began some due diligence at other farms off the West Coast of Vancouver Island and we think we found some farmers who share the same approach to Craftsman methods, high standards, responsible rearing and "3 star BAP certification". We haven't put these fish into the Skuna Bay system but after testing them it is nice to know that if we run into a supply crunch again we may have some back up options from other responsible farmers who can help. We are also starting to explore options from some of our Scottish friends as well and thinking of ways to do this in an environmentally friendly way. Many exciting things developing, all with the goal of supplying more great salmon to more great chefs year round.
In the meantime, thank you for your patience - we look forward to getting all of you great salmon once again.