Experience Local Washington Seafood in Bellingham

Live in or just love to visit Bellingham? If you’ve eaten at one of the many restaurants in downtown Bellingham and tried a dish featuring fresh local Washington seafood, chances are it came through the Port of Bellingham and that WDFW’s local team had a hand in ensuring the sustainability of that bounty.

Bellingham’s waterfront extends throughout the city, from historic Fairhaven, to the new Waypoint Park, and down to the busy Squalicum Harbor. It has a way of connecting the city and its residents to Bellingham’s rich cultural heritage. Bellingham’s working waterfront helps support more than 7,000 jobs in in the commercial seafood and maritime industry, which has been a cornerstone of Whatcom County for well over a century.

Bellingham also houses the largest cold storage facility on the West Coast. That means that fish from Washington and distant waters may have arrived here at Bellingham Cold Storage before it hit your plate.

Upon returning from their voyages, one of the first people that vessel crews likely encountered were one of WDFW’s Bellingham-based monitoring staff members. This team collects catch and biological data, including length, weight, sex, maturity, and aging indicators. It’s one of the ways WDFW works with the commercial fishing industry to ensure sustainable levels of harvest from Washington waters.

“The Port of Bellingham has long-recognized the important role that commercial fishermen and the working waterfront have in Whatcom County,” said Kyle Randolph, Bellingham Harbormaster. “This vital industry touches the lives of nearly every resident in ways ranging from job creation to the food we put on our tables. The Port proudly supports our commercial fishers by providing the resources, infrastructure and access they need to maintain their fleets and sell their products…to ensure the commercial fishing industry will be supported long into the future.”

Dock to Table

The Port of Bellingham, in partnership with many local commercial fishermen, the Working Waterfront Coalition, Whatcom County Health Department, and Bellingham SeaFeast, has another option for folks to experience locally harvested seafood with Bellingham Dockside Market.

Bellingham Dockside Market, which launched in fall 2020, provides a coordinated effort for fishermen to sell directly from either their boats or in shoreside pop-ups at Squalicum Harbor,. The market aims to connect community members with local fishermen, to establish relationships, and provide opportunities to learn about how and where our seafood is harvested, how to handle it properly, and to prepare this immune-boosting protein source for home-cooked meals.

“The stars have aligned for off-the-boat seafood sales, and the Working Waterfront Coalition now finds valuable partners for this effort in the Port of Bellingham and Bellingham SeaFeast Festival,” said Jim Kyle, Whatcom Working Waterfront president. “With seafood markets in turmoil, our fledgling Bellingham Dockside Market will allow local residents to purchase lower-priced, high quality seafood directly from commercial fishers. A win-win for the public and our fisher people, not to mention our taste buds and our health!”

“The Port recognizes that our local commercial fishermen are navigating new challenges at the same time consumers are shifting to respond to changing economic circumstances,” said Rob Fix, Port of Bellingham Executive Director. “We want to welcome people to our harbor with these direct seafood sales and see people leaving the dock with their locally sourced dinner in hand.”

“Since 2016, Bellingham SeaFeast has brought thousands of people to our harbor for a fun, educational weekend festival,” said former Bellingham SeaFeast Executive Director, Liz Purdy. “We’re thrilled to collaborate again with our waterfront partners to continue getting delicious seafood, and the ‘sea-to-plate’ story, out to our community.”

Get a glimpse into Bellingham’s commercial fishing legacy and maritime industry with this video below from Bellingham SeaFeast, Servants of the Salish Sea. Started in 2016, Bellingham SeaFeast is an annual waterfront & seafood festival that highlights Bellingham’s rich maritime culture and heritage, working waterfront, commercial fishing and seafood industries, and the culinary bounty of our corner of the Pacific Northwest. Learn more about this year’s SeaFeast festival, scheduled for Oct. 30, 2021.

Celebrate #LifeOutdoorsWA this Seafood Month!

With all the local Washington seafood in season right now, what better time is there to fire up your grill, enjoy Life Outdoors and celebrate Seafood Month! Whether you prefer to reel it in yourself or pick it up from your local market, enjoying local Washington seafood is a choice you can feel good about.

The state uses stringent science-based monitoring and oversight to keep sustainable seafood on the menu — and your table — for years to come. And, when you enjoy local Washington seafood, you help to support the Pacific Northwest’s commercial seafood industry, which puts 102, 476 to work in living-wage jobs and provides a $11.2 million boost in sales to the economy.

If you send us your best photos grilling up seafood this month, you can be entered for a chance to win outdoor gear! Your photos may be featured on WDFW’s Facebook and Instagram to celebrate the variety of ways people enjoy outdoor lifestyles and to inspire others to spend time in nature.

Enter our monthly photo contest August-December 2021 for a chance to win a Cabela’s gift card! Each month has a new theme and a new winner.

  • Visit WDFW’s Life Outdoors webpage from now through December 2021 to find out the outdoor recreation theme for the current month.
  • Submit pictures of you, your friends, or family participating in the month’s featured outdoor recreation theme on WDFW’s website.
  • When submitting your photo, select #LifeOutdoorsWA in the category section. In the description area, tell us a little about your experience!

On the last Friday of the month, a winner will be selected and featured on WDFW’s Facebook and Instagram. Winners will also be contacted via email to receive their prize.

Visit wdfw.wa.gov/LocalWASeafood to learn more about in-season sustainable seafood and how the state and its partners are working to keep it on families’ tables, in the market, and on the menu.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is dedicated to preserving, protecting and perpetuating the state’s fish and wildlife resources.