A LITTLE HISTORY
Until 1960, there was no King Crab fishery in Alaska, and street wisdom was that only the Japanese had King Crab.
Until the late 1970′s, almost all Alaskan salmon was packed in cans at the remote cannery plants, for sale to domestic and European customers. Almost 100% of the fish were headed collar and fins cut off and the viscera removed using either the model G or K Iron Butchers (then known as Iron Chinks). Roe was considered fish bait, and was ground up along with the rest of the viscera and pumped off shore.
Pollock was called “wall eyed Pollock” by those few who bothered giving it a name, and was a “junk fish”.
Herring was universally ignored along the entire coast.
There was no expansion in the domestic fishing industry, and almost all sales were to domestic markets.
The Japanese said that they did not catch any Alaskan Salmon, and that nobody but Japanese people would eat pollock products.
When enforcement of the 200 mile limit was begun in the late 1977, and foreign fishing ships were pushed out of the U.S. coastal waters, or forced to pay for fishing permits. Prior to this, the Japanese reported that all their salmon requirements were satisfied with domestic stocks Hokkaido Island and the Kuril Islands. Japanese fish companies soon began purchasing salmon from Alaskan processors, initially small amounts, but quickly growing to the major customer. The Japanese wanted fresh frozen salmon, Headed and Gutted with a high premium on quality and appearance. Initially, Japanese markets wanted gills out, heads and collars on, with kidneys completely removed, the throat uncut and no nicks at the vent (incorrectly called the anus). Later, when the Alaskan plants could not satisfy the Japanese demand due to short seasons and limited manpower, the market slowly changed to heads off and throat cut, a much less labor intensive method. However, the Japanese demand for high quality product with good appearance never changed, and this revolutionized the American fisheries. Since all Alaskan plants were designed around Iron Butcher systems which were unacceptable for the Japanese market, all salmon for the frozen Japanese market had to be hand headed with knives, and gutted and cleaned with knives and spoons on tables or conveyor systems. This was a labor intensive process which limited production and profits.