The Knutson family hang out on the Loki vessel in 1987. CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE TO VIEW MORE PHOTOS FROM LOKI FISH'S 30 YEAR HISTORY.
Local fishing business celebrates 30 years of keeping it in the family
It began with one boat and one fish.
In May of 1979, West Seattle resident Pete Knutson took his pregnant wife, Hing Ng, out on their newly purchased boat, The Loki—named after a god in Norse mythology, who, like he himself, was known for being mischievous. While Hing became sea sick, Knutson caught the salmon that became their first sale.
Today, Loki Fish is truly a family business. Pete’s oldest son Jonah has joined his father on the fishing boats while Dylan, their younger son, manages the company’s marketing and distribution. Hing even runs Loki Fish’s office with help from Jenn Pellerin, Jonah’s fiance.
As Loki Fish celebrates 30 years of business this month, the locally-owned fishing business prides itself not only on a long history, but on a commitment to sustainability and independence.
Pete worked in commercial fishing for seven years before starting his own company. During that time he grew unsatisfied with purse seine fishing—a method that uses a large net to catch fish. When he started his own company Pete harvested with gillnets, a more selective and environmentally friendly technique.
“We treat each fish we catch respectfully,” said Jonah.
The company has also strived to stay local and independent. While the Knutsons are proud to feed many people in the northwest, it is not their goal to compete with mass processors. Loki Fish handles every step of the fishing process from the catch to the customer, cleaning each fish themselves on their own boats and personally delivering their product to merchants.
Ten years ago, the company found a way to deliver their product even more directly to their customers by selling fish at farmers markets. Working at the markets, Dylan enjoys having a close relationship with their consumers.
Even more recently, Loki has expanded its market to the Internet and began providing fish to parts of the Midwest.
“Having our sons in the business has brought in a youthful energy, not to mention their comfort with technology, and that also helps us stay competitive,” said Hing.
Dylan said he and his brother hope to find new ways to keep the company financially stable while feeding more people in the local community.
“Jonah and I have grown up with this business and we’re planning on keeping it going for a long time,” said Dylan. “Maybe we’ll even pass Loki on to our kids.”
Loki’s wild fish can be found at the Metropolitan Market in Admiral, the Morgan Thriftway, the Seattle Fish Company and each Sunday at the West Seattle Farmers Market. Local restaurants, including The Bohemian and La Rustica, also serve Loki Fish.
Photo gallery for this story