Matt Luck is making a difference for the world one wild salmon at a time.
As founder and owner of Pride of Bristol Bay, a company that sells wild, sustainable, traceable sockeye salmon, Luck is intimately familiar with the ways human activities affect fisheries. A percentage of every fillet he sells goes to support a range of nonprofit work—including efforts by Idaho Rivers United to restore wild salmon in the Pacific Northwest.
“Much of what I’m doing falls into the passion project realm,” said Luck, who works in Alaska and lives in Ketchum, Idaho.
Each spring and fall, Pride of Bristol Bay donates a portion of its sales to IRU and other local nonprofits working to restore Idaho’s endangered wild salmon. Luck also donates salmon to IRU’s annual Sawtooth Salmon Festival and Auction for the Rivers. The proceeds from those donations go directly to IRU’s conservation programming.
"Living and working in the midst of Alaska’s world renowned, cold-water fisheries habitat reaffirms the importance and value of IRU’s stewardship for our home rivers here in Idaho," Luck said. "It seems in this day and age, every river needs a friend.“
In addition, 10 percent of every pre-tax profit he sells goes to help save Bristol Bay from Pebble Mine, a huge proposal that could wipe out the region's legendary sockeye salmon.
Luck is proud of his altruistic business practices, but like most things in life it was part of an evolution. In 1989 he was 34 years old, had a young family and operated his business out of Cordova, Alaska.
“I had a thriving fishing business with three boats, 25 employees and a million dollars of debt. I woke up one morning, and Exxon Valdez happened. We survived just fine, but the community didn’t, and nor did Prince William Sound.”
This caused him to do some self-examination. The seeds for his passion project had been planted.
Luck said what happened politically on both state and federal levels in the years leading up to the March 24, 1989 environmental disaster bears a “haunting resemblance” to what is happening in Bristol Bay today with regard to the Pebble Mine project, which he is working to help stop.
“The entire model for Pride of Bristol Bay is built around the notion of creating a connection between the harvester, the story of the resource, the place, the product and the consumer,” Luck said.
Pride of Bristol Bay is proud to offer “the absolute highest quality pack produced in Bristol Bay,” Luck said, adding that his company codes each individual fillet, a practice that refers to the specific fishing district in which it was harvested.
Once again this fall, Pride of Bristol Bay will sell salmon fillets in Ketchum, Hailey and Boise and donated a portion of proceeds to IRU. View the posters below for more information.
Photos courtesy Pride of Bristol Bay (prideofbristolbay.com)