Heather & Kirk Hardcastle
Sockeye Salmon (Gillnet)
I always knew I’d get to Alaska.
About the Hardcastles:
The family business began in 2003 with Heather’s parents, Pete & Sheila Peterson, and is now co-owned with friends, Winston & Renee Warr, to market the family’s carefully handled, premium catch to quality-conscious chefs, fishmongers and consumers.
How they met:
In 1998, in Maui, working on a whale-watching vessel. Heather has degrees in environmental management and biology; Kirk, in marine biology and environmental physiology.
Advice to anyone who wants to fish for a living?
Heather: You don’t do it for a living; you do it for a lifestyle.
Kirk, did you ever expect to marry the daughter of a fisherman and move to Alaska?
I grew up in Northern California and worked as a chef in the wine country, so I understand that where food comes from affects its quality and flavor. But I always knew I’d get to Alaska. Heather grew up fishing with her parents, so I was able to take a shortcut.
What do you do in the winter?
Heather: We’re both working with the Alaska Energy Authority on a grant project to convert fish waste into a renewable energy source. And we use our tender vessel to collect used cooking oil from cruise ships, and plan to convert this oil to biodiesel. I also teach, and Kirk travels up and down the Pacific coast captaining boats.
What does sustainability mean to you?
Kirk: The concept of sustainable fisheries isn’t just about a system for the management of the fish and the ecosystem. It also includes the fishermen themselves and the entire pipeline of the market—the buyers, the retail markets, the restaurants.