The Popsie Fish Company
The Popsie Fish Company has been set net fishing at the mouth of the Egegik River in Bristol Bay, the far northeastern shore of the Bering Sea, since 1987. Starting with humble beginnings, “kid power” and little equipment, the family business owns three Limited Entry Permits and leases three shore fishery sites. They are now leaders in the Egegik District set-net community. “Popsie” was what the grandchildren called Tony’s dad, Paul Neal, Jr., a successful businessman who set the example of hard work and self-reliance. Tony carried Popsie’s example forward to his own family and the fishing business. The Neal family honored Popsie by naming their fishing company after him.
Tony and Gwen are the founders of the company, managing the ebb and flow of family members and crew, and managing the business through the year. Their children, Sarah, Jeff, and Siri grew up though grade school and past college spending their summers at fish camp, learning to work hard and develop the self -reliance Popsie exemplified. Sarah, Jeff, and Siri have continued to be involved in the fishing through their adult years. Sarah is now the deck boss and crew captain, directing the fishing operations and crew. Grandchildren are stepping in to responsible positions. Jake and Erin are full crew members, Gwenyth started an apprentice season, and Owen is in his third year despite his young age of 5 years. Malachy and Tadhg are scheduled to come over from Waterford, Ireland in 2015.
During the salmon season, late May to mid-August, the family members who are able gather at our fish camp, located on the ocean beach near the mouth of the Egegik River. Any vacant spots are filled with hired crew. These months are spent working the nets as the tides, weather, and regulations allow, trying to catch every salmon we can while making sure quality is kept to the maximum. When the season is over, the family disperses to their homes in Alaska, Oregon, Florida, and Ireland.
Sam Johnson joins the team after the fishing season is over. Sam works for the company full-time as project manager, selling the company’s salmon products across the nation and managing the constant interaction of vendors and customers. Sam has been a commercial fisher in Alaska her whole life. Sam is a permit holder and a member of her family team, fishing about a mile from us in the Egegik District. Sam and Tony are the full-time sellers, capably assisted by Chris as sales advisor, and Jeff, engineer.
Should you wish to know more about us or what we do, we are always willing to talk. Pick up the phone or drop us an email...
The Popsie Fish Company Story...
Sarah O'Neill, Force of Nature
Erin Olsson-O'Neill, Fisher
Chris Olsson-O'Neill, Sales
This map shows the mouth of the Egegik river, where the Popsie Fish Company operates it's fishing camp. Egegik is a Yup'ik eskimo village located on the south bank with year-round residents, but the north side of the river is only inhabited during fishing season.
Our camp is located on the north side of the river, 8 miles from Egegik, closer to "Big Creek" which can be seen near the center of the map. Our camp and set-net sites are located to the southern end of the tidal flats visible on the map.
It is a cozy camp, with accomodation, storage, and washing buildings set just back from the beach.
Drop in any time if you are in the area!
Sam Johnson, Project Manager