Wild Alaska seafood?


This ad campaign is going to have some troubles, I suspect. It’s saying something I want to hear: they’re marketing wild seafood from Alaska, and they’re trying to convince me that it is a sustainable fishery. I have my doubts; but they are about to start a series of ads to tell me that it is, and they’re pushing salmon and king crab. Mmmmm. I want to believe. Delude me, baby, I want to taste your sweet, sweet lies.

The slogan is “Grab a fork, and eat all you want. There’s a lot more out there,” though, which I find appalling. And worse, far worse, I watched the ads. Who is mouthing that slogan? Ben Stein. I heard it, and my brain instantly clicked into full cynic mode. “He’s freakin’ lying,” my brain whispered to me, “Don’t trust a word he says.” And now I’m convinced that evil goons are chumming the North Pacific with baby seal blood and killing the fish with dynamite. So, DON’T BUY WILD ALASKA SEAFOOD. It’s evil.

Ah, the power of advertising.

For all the facts on fisheries, check out blogfish—in particular, you can find out more on the topic of Alaska at this link.


  1. #1 David Marjanovi?
    October 3, 2007

    That font… is that just me, or is this the Star Wars font on every computer?

    Yoda your brain in full cynic mode is!

  2. #2 aratina
    April 30, 2008

    PZ, Apparently I missed this post of yours when it happened. Now, I want you to know that I love your blog for many reasons, and was quite happy to stumble on it years ago, but I really take offense at you calling Alaskan seafood evil because some marketing group hired that a-hole Stein to star in a commercial about Alaskan salmon.

    The people whose livelihood depends on Alaskan salmon did not make the calls on that advertisement, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute did. And that is highly related to the reason that Alaskan commercial salmon fishers are not doing so well economically–they are not one big dreadnought company. Instead, the people who depend on Alaskan salmon being consumed are diverse individuals who for one short window of time from June to August can make just enough money to survive on for a large part of the year.

    Alaskan salmon are also a well-managed resource. The blogfish website you link to discusses that at length. Because of that, the Alaskan salmon are sustainable. In fact, if commercial salmon fishing were to be stopped, the salmon would flood the rivers and the stock would suffer a crippling blow. The way it is now, the salmon stock requires a balancing act. Sometimes the fishers get to take more, sometimes they get to take less. The state also does not just give all the salmon to the commercial fishers, but instead allows anyone in Alaska to fish salmon for sport in the rivers.

    The bottom line is that Stein has nothing to do with Alaskan salmon other than some marketing IDiot’s ill-conceived idea, and I don’t see how you can say that Alaskan seafood is evil because of that. The Alaskan fisheries depend on consumers, but too many are turning to farmed Atlantic salmon (there is a true horror story if you care to look into it). Ya, I get the point, they should never have put Stein in their commercials, should never had acted so brazen about salmon as if the supply were endless (but they do need to motivate people to buy the end product in face of charges that the salmon will all be fished out) and I am calling the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute tomorrow as a fisherman to lodge a complaint about them using Stein, but did you have to be so repugnant in the way you made that point?

  3. #3 aratina
    May 1, 2008

    I just finished talking with Laura Fleming, the Media Relations contact at Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, and she said that particular ad campaign had already ended and that I was not the only one from the “fleet” who called in to express their disappointment over the choice of Ben Stein as a representative of Alaskan salmon and the misguided point of view that Alaskan salmon are “abundant so eat as many as you can”. She was not sure who hired Stein but said that he would not have been her choice. I’m just glad that is over and hope Alaskan salmon are never so disparaged again by the presence of Stein or the notion that they are in endless supply.

  4. #4 Kseniya
    May 1, 2008

    When Stein’s involved, there’s always something that’s in endless supply.

    Interesting comments, Aratina. I admit, I’d forgotten all about this issue.