Salmon – and the ocean that they make their home in—run deep in Tele Aadsen’s blood. Aadsen and her partner, Joel BradyPower, own and operate Nerka SeaFrozen Salmon as fisherfolks who sustainably catch, process, market, and sell wild salmon. Named after their boat Nerka, which was passed down to them from Brady-Power’s parents, Aadsen and Brady-Power have run their business as second-generation trolling fisherfolks since 2006.

Photo courtesy of Nerka Sea-Frozen Salmon

Their fishing operations are based out of Sitka in Southeast Alaska during the summer months (May through September) where they spend weeks out on the water at a time between shore returns to unload their catches. Since their fish are blast frozen within an hour of coming out of the water, they can be safely stored and processed on the boat during the fishing runs. Once on land, they prepare their fish for selling and delivery in the Whatcom and Skagit regions.

“We want to retain responsibility for the quality of our salmon and their story, all the way from hook to consumer,” Aadsen notes on their decision to be personally involved with all aspects of the ocean-to-market process. “It’s about having love for something you’re killing and thinking about how to honor fish all the way through.”

Fishing and processing take up the summer months, but once the winter comes the work pivots to marketing and sales. Their commitment to sustainability and personal connection extends to these aspects of their business as well, with a conscious cultivation of loyal customers including some who are legacies from their parents’ catches.

Nerka fishes for two of the five species of salmon: coho and king. Aadsen describes coho as a milder, everyday salmon whereas king is a decadent, fattier, and more carefully managed salmon. Both their coho and king salmon are sold at local Bellingham businesses and restaurants, including the downtown Community Food Co-op and Rock & Rye Oyster House.

With Aadsen taking the marketing lead, Nerka’s focus is to be inclusive of their land friends in the fishing journey. She highlighted a need to have interconnected relationships with other communities—both on land and at sea—in order to build an audience and customer base that is informed about the true economic and environmental complexities involved in maintaining sustainable practices with salmon.

But she was quick to stress that the ultimate success of their partnership and business is rooted in their mutually supportive efforts.

“Where Joel is the salmon charmer who runs the Nerka, I run the fish business,” Aadsen says. “While I’m the face our land friends most recognize, I’m delivering a catch that Joel and I are equally responsible for and connected to. Team Nerka is a symbiotic pair, equally reliant on each other’s skills and contributions.”

You’d expect nothing less from the couple behind Nerka’s tagline: “a seato-plate story (told with love).” Bow, 360.303.7770,

Aadsen’s collection of essays reflecting on fishing, “What Water Holds,” will be released by Empty Bowl Press in May 2023. Keep up with Nerka Sea-Frozen Salmon on Facebook @fvnerka.

"We want to retain responsibility for the quality of our salmon and their story, all the way from hook to consumer. -Tele Aadsen, Owner of Nerka Sea-Frozen Salmon"