Frequently Asked Questions

Food Safety & COVID-19

We are SQF certified facility and, as such, always follow very strict food safety guidelines. We hold a Level 2 SQF Food Safety Certification by the Safe Quality Food Institute, a global standard for rigorous food safety management systems. Now, during the national coronavirus outbreak, we are laying on top of that additional deep cleaning and hand washing processes. Additionally, any employees who are showing any signs of sickness are required to stay home. And finally, for all of our team who can get their work done remotely, we have set them up to conduct their work from home until further notice, and limited our shipping days to Monday-Thursday.

SeaBear Salmon & Seafood

Our SeaBear brand uses only 100% wild salmon, as it always has since our beginnings as Specialty Seafoods in 1957.

Our Gerard & Dominique brand of smoked salmon — which joined our company in 2008 — uses both wild salmon, and Atlantic (farmed) salmon in its line, with the Atlantic used primarily on its signature European Style Smoked Salmon lox, featured in white tablecloth restaurants and hotels across the country. Chef Dominique chooses the Atlantic salmon for this feature item because the fatty nature of the fish is ideal for creating the lox style product, and it replicates the approach used among the finest smoked salmon lox of Europe. We source these Atlantic salmon from high quality, highly responsible salmon farms.

Wild Pacific Salmon are very different from each other; they vary in color, flavor and texture; these differences are summarized below.

  • KING (Chinook)

    Orange-reddish in color, large flakes
    How it Tastes: Firm texture, moist, mild, succulent flavor
    Best Ways to Enjoy: Smoked, baked, broiled, grilled

  • SOCKEYE (Reds)

    Rich, red color; medium flake.
    How it Tastes: Rich, robust flavor; moist (though not as moist as King)
    Best Ways to Enjoy: Smoked; baked, broiled, grilled

  • KETA (Chum)

    Lighter in color; firm texture with medium to large flake.
    How it Tastes: Full, smoky, earthy flavor. Least moist.
    Best Ways to Enjoy: Smoked; use in recipes; use in appetizers

  • COHO (Silver)

    Orange color, with medium to large flake.
    How it Tastes: Firm texture; moist, with a delicate flavor.
    Best Ways to Enjoy: Smoked; use in recipes; baked, broiled, grilled

  • PINK (Humpies)

    Light color; tender texture; small flake.
    How it Tastes: Light, delicate, almost tuna-like flavor.
    Best Ways to Enjoy: Smoked; use in recipes; cooked & flaked (like tuna) ; in salads

There are 5 different species of Wild Pacific Salmon: Sockeye, King, Keta, Coho and Pink. We believe there is no "better" or "best" - they each have their own characteristics which make them different from one another, and particularly well suited for certain uses. For example, we feel the three which work best for smoking are the King, Keta and Sockeye Salmon.

The Smoked Salmon in the gold foil pouch has a shelf life of at least four years, as long as it is not opened, punctured or leaking. Even beyond four years, the product will likely be good to eat.

Only if it’s “Nova Style”, or “lox.” Traditional Northwest Style Smoked Salmon is fully smoked, fully cooked, moist and flaky.

The Lox Smoked Salmon is cured, but not cooked, as it is smoked over low heat (“cold smoked”) Thinly sliced, with a silky smooth texture.

The Hot Smoked Salmon is smoked over high heat (“hot smoking”), resulting in a moist, flaky, fully cooked smoked salmon unlike any other in the world.

For the SeaBear's Smoked Salmon in the gold foil pouch we vacuum seal the smoked salmon in the pouch, and cook it in its own juices. This natural process preserves the Pacific Northwest Smoked Salmon naturally, so no refrigeration is required until the pouch is opened.

These juices are the natural oils from the salmon (rich in Omega-3 fatty acids), which are released when the salmon is cooked inside the pouch. No water is ever added.

The soft, cream colored substance attached to the fish or floating freely in the liquid of the pouch is a natural component of many canned or pouched seafoods referred to as “curd”. Curd is simply a coagulated mass of protein that comes from the fish as it is cooked in the can. More specifically, the curd forms when water soluble proteins are released from the cut surfaces of the fish, and are then “set” during the cooking process similar to the firming of egg whites when poached. The presence of curd is normal and it does not detract at all from the flavor or nutritiousness of canned/pouched salmon

The Gold Seal pouch SeaBear smoked salmon comes packaged in is like a "flexible can" - as long as it is not opened, punctured or leaking, it will stay good for many years (just like a can). The product will be good for at least four years, and even that is conservative. Your Gold Seal pouch will have a printed expiration date that says "Enjoy By MM/DD/YYYY" printed on the pouch. If your pouch does not have this "Enjoy By" date printed, it will have a production code. Use the instructions below to read the production code and see when the smoked salmon was produced. Here is how you would read a code of 64170011SK:

  • The "64" Our F.D.A. issued plant number
  • The "17" The last digit of the year it was produced (2017)
  • The "001" The Julian date. 001 = 1st of January
  • The "1" Number of retort cook done that day (1st cook of the day)
  • The "SK" Species of fish (sockeye)

Here is how to read a perishable product code:

  • Perishable product codes = 0001
  • 0 = year product was produced (2000)
  • 001 = Julian date
  • Date product was packaged- 001 = Jan 1st

If you need assistance with determining when your product was produced please call us at 1-800-645-3474 and we would be happy to help.

Through our retort process. The Gold Seal pouch is like a "flexible can" - we vacuum-seal the fish inside the pouch, and then cook it in its own juices. This process preserves the fish naturally, and allows the pouch to be stored without refrigeration for at least 4 years, or more.

SeaBear smokes the salmon, vacuum seals it inside the Gold Seal pouches, and then cooks the salmon in its own juices. This process preserves the salmon naturally, so no refrigeration is needed until the pouch is opened. Think of the Gold Seal pouch like a "flexible can".

SeaBear starts with the highest quality of salmon available - in our smokehouse we will hand fillet the salmon, portion it, package it and then freeze it. Freezing is often used to kill parasites in salmon and seafood, so that it can be consumed raw. However, SeaBear has not conducted any of our own sushi-grade tests on our frozen salmon, or the freezing process. Therefore, we do not recommend consuming SeaBear salmon raw or uncooked.

Thawing & Preparation

Regardless of how you like to cook your salmon (bake, broil, grill, sauté or poach), we believe the key to success is to SLOW DOWN! Slow cooking locks in the natural juices of the salmon, for a more succulent flavor. When the salmon has turned from translucent to just about completely opaque the salmon is done. At this point the salmon should begin to flake easily with a fork. It is important to note that once removed from the heat, your salmon will continue to cook for several more minutes. Here are some specific guidelines by cooking method (click here to watch our videos).

TO BAKE: Pre-heat oven to 275 degrees. Place salmon fillet skin side down on a cookie sheet brushed with olive oil, and bake for 25-30 minutes. Do not flip salmon fillet.

TO GRILL: Brush grill with olive oil PRIOR to heating. Once the grill is medium-hot (you should be able to hold your hand 6 inches above the grill for 5 seconds), brush the top of each salmon fillet with olive oil, and place on grill skin side up. Grill fillet until sides begin to turn opaque. Flip once, and continue grilling until fully cooked.

TO BROIL: Place salmon fillet skin side down on a broiler pan brushed with olive oil, and place on oven’s middle rack. Generally broil about 10 minutes or so, though keep watching to avoid overcooking. Do not flip salmon fillet.

We provide a variety of recipes on our website. Please visit our recipes page.

SeaBear seafood shipped on dry ice has been quick-frozen to lock in the flavor and nutrients. Upon arrival, please freeze or refrigerate. Fillets will keep in the freezer for approximately 3-4 months; once thawed they should be cooked and used within 1-2 days.

Once a frozen fillet is thawed, it can be re-frozen although we do not recommend it, as taste and quality may begin to suffer. No fillet should be re-frozen if it has been thawed 2 days or longer.

The best way to thaw your salmon, halibut, tuna or white fish is to leave it in the refrigerator overnight (in its pouch), allowing at least 8-10 hours. Trying to rush the process by thawing at room temperature or placing the frozen pouch in warm water is definitely NOT recommended, as it can cause the seafood to lose flavor and texture. If you must thaw your seafood quickly, place the frozen pouch in a bowl of cool water for 30-45 minutes, and then continue thawing in refrigerator.

Always handle Dry Ice with care and wear protective cloth or leather gloves whenever touching it. An oven mitt or towel will also work. If touched briefly it is harmless, but prolonged contact with the skin will freeze cells and cause injury similar to a burn. Unwrap and leave it at room temperature in a well-ventilated area. It will sublimate from a solid to a gas.

The ships on ice symbol indicates items that require refrigeration.

There is no need to cook the salmon in the pouch - it is fully cooked. If you would like to warm the salmon you may do so by putting it the oven for 5-7 minutes, covered, at 275 degrees. Please do not microwave the pouch.

Dietary & Food Safety

Aside from sourced products that specifically state that they are gluten-free, we cannot guarantee that our SeaBear-made products are gluten-free, as they are produced in a facility with products that contain gluten.  Though we follow diligent sanitation and Good Manufacturing practices, we cannot guarantee that products without typical gluten-containing ingredients have not come into contact at some point with a gluten ingredient.

No. SeaBear adds no preservatives – no nitrates, no oils and we never use any coloring! SeaBear is 100% natural.

We use 100% wild Salmon, a touch of sea salt and sugar for our Northwest Style Smoked Salmon. Our products are all natural.

Our fish are not certified organic and we don’t ever make that claim. All "organic" really means is that the animal or plant raised under organic standards has been in a (reasonably) controlled environment its entire life, free of pesticides, growth hormones, GMOs, etc. While some think wild salmon should qualify as organic, by definition they could never meet the controlled environment standard--just as nothing raised on a farm by humans can be called truly natural or wild.

Some SeaBear products are Kosher. These products are indicated with K in a small box next to the product description in the catalog and on the website.

The word kosher is a variation of the Hebrew word meaning "fit" or "proper." Simply put, kosher foods meet the dietary requirements and are prepared in accordance to the Jewish Law. The determination of kosher and non-kosher foods depends on two variables: the source of the ingredients and the status of the production equipment. Kosher certification, which is the guarantee that the food meets kosher requirements, revolves around both of the above criteria. Kosher fish must have both scales and fins. Shellfish such as shrimp and lobster are prohibited, as well as some fresh fish such as swordfish, sturgeon, catfish and eel.

Unlike farmed Atlantic salmon, wild salmon feed on a natural diet of marine life, for naturally rich levels of Omega-3 and an unparalleled taste. SeaBear offers the best of the best, as less than 1% of wild salmon meets our specifications.

Our product tests at <5.67 mcg/serving. Usually with a result of "<" the indication is that the test is not able to detect levels lower than the level shown.

Salmon is not known as a high-risk fish for Mercury like the larger predator fish, but there have been some instances of Salmon having higher levels of Mercury. The risk is usually from population and pollution in the lakes and rivers where the salmon begin their lives.

Alaska is an extremely low population area. The rivers in Alaska where most of the fishing is done have very few people living near them - usually towns with populations of less than 5000. There is very little industry in the area and this makes the rivers an excellent environment for salmon to call home.

We do not irradiate our products.

Yes!  Our pouches for smoked salmon and ready-to-eat salmon have an inner polypropylene layer that is food safe and ensures a strong seal.  All pouches are approved by the FDA and are BPA-free.

is a colorful and powerful natural antioxidant that wild salmon and wild trout
eat as part of their natural diet. Astaxanthin gives these fish the natural
pink / red colors for which they are known. Riverence Farms, from
whom we source world-class trout, uses only an all-natural Astaxanthin in their
feed when raising Idaho trout in their land-based farms.   While it
is an all-natural part of the diet, FDA requires that it be called out in the
ingredient statement as it may impact the color of the fish.   Visit HERE for further background
info and a video on the natural Astaxanthin used by Riverence.

We have been closely following two sources of data since the disaster in Japan. Information from the NOAA Fisheries Service, and most importantly the FDA. All along the data has shown there to be no safety issue at all with Pacific Northwest seafood.  

You can find information from the FDA regarding this here.

About SeaBear Smokehouse & Placing an Order

SeaBear was founded in 1957 By Tom and Marie Savidge. To learn more about SeaBear history please click here.

If you experience a problem with your order or are not satisfied with our products, contact our Customer Service Department and we will resolve things promptly. SeaBear may require the return of the products with which you are dissatisfied before we substitute an acceptable item, issue a credit voucher or give you cash back. 

The smokehouse, customer service center, packing and shipping departments all reside in Anacortes, Washington. We are about an hour and a half north of Seattle in the San Juan Islands.

We do sell a limited number of our products in some stores around the United States. If you would like to find out if there is a store carrying SeaBear in your area, one of our Customer Service Representatives will be happy to check for you.

There are several options for placing an order.

Online at
By phone: 1-800-645-3474.
By fax: 1-888-487-6427
By mail: SeaBear Smokehouse 605 30th St. Anacortes, WA 98221

You may reach us at 1-800-645-3474 or email us.

We do ship non-perishable products to limited numbers of countries. Please call our Smokehouse Store at 1-360-230-1082 and we would be happy to help you with your international shipping needs.

If you experience a problem with your order or are not satisfied with our products, contact our Customer Service Department and we will resolve things promptly. SeaBear may require the return of the products with which you are dissatisfied before we substitute an acceptable item, issue a credit voucher or give you cash back.

Yes, we have a corporate gift program. You may contact our corporate gifts team at 1-800-445-5426 or email us.

Please contact customer service at 1-800-645-3474 or email us - we can make recommendations on how to get that item delivered on or near that date.

Our SeaBear brand uses only 100% wild salmon, as it always has since our beginnings as Specialty Seafoods in 1957.

At SeaBear, we are always looking to continuously improve, and doing so in alignment with our six core values, which guide the way we operate. One of the changes for 2020 includes changing from mailing a full 40 page catalog to smaller high quality brochures and postcards. We made this change with careful consideration, and for a number of positive reasons:

Environmental Impact: One of our six core values is that we are good citizens—this encompasses both our local community as well as being good stewards of our environment. Our move towards these smaller mailings reflects enormous reduction of paper usage.

More Accurate Reflection of What’s Happening at the Smokehouse, Today: With a long-lead time for catalogs (created up to 5-6 months in advance), we are unable to get all our newest ideas in front of our customers right away. For example, our new Smoked Scallop Macaroni and Cheese went from idea to customers’ kitchens in less than 3 months!

More Responsiveness to Our Sources: We can be much more responsive to the best available supply of the seafood in the moment, and to special short-term value opportunities that often present themselves if we use ways to communicate with you that do not require the long lead time of catalogs.

So — we continue to communicate by mail, just with smaller / more timely pieces. But also be sure to sign up for our email newsletter to get the very latest news. And, as always check out for our entire offering, and call our Customer Service Team for suggestions or help with your order.


We make our customer lists available to a few carefully screened companies whose products might interest you. If you prefer that your name not be made available, please copy your mailing label exactly and mail to us at: Mail Preference Service, 605 30th St, Anacortes, WA 98221, or call our Customer Service Center at 1-800 645-3474.

With respect to security: we always use industry-standard encryption technologies when transferring and receiving consumer data exchanged with our site. We have appropriate security measures in place in our physical facilities to protect against the loss, misuse or alteration of information that we have collected from you at our site.

To verify that you are the cardholder, and that you have the card in your possession, we require this.