Although headquartered in Vancouver, BC. Arctic Pearl’s roots began in Southeastern Alaska

Journey to Ketchikan

A man by the name of Edward Clifford Phillips (born 1890) worked on fish docks in Grimsby in the United Kingdom. He was 1 of 11 children, and his wife, Mary Jane, was 1 of 12 children. Both were born into English fishermen families, and proud to have supplied seafood for customers in London since the 19th century.

They left England right before World War I in 1913 and moved to Pender Harbor, BC Canada. They were amazed by the rich seafood bounty the Pacific Northwest had, and the variety of species.

They packed their bags, and moved once again to Ketchikan in search of the highest quality of fish, while remaining connected with the British Columbia seafood market.


Community Beginnings

Our roots started out as a smokehouse before large-scale fish processing. Mr. ECP was passionate about smoking fish, so he used his savings to buy the Ketchikan smokehouse. He would buy fish from Alaska Fish Dock and sell to his friends.

The operation started out completely local – he would smoke this fish, and then sell it to his neighbors. Then it became his neighbors’ friends. Eventually, by word of mouth, he ended up selling to customers in the Pacific Northwest, and in all states in the lower 48 and in Canada.

Family-focused growth

During this time, Mr. ECP raised his family in Ketchikan. His oldest son, Cliff Phillips, was particularly dedicated to smoking salmon. He smoked salmon so much that during school, other students call him “Smokey.”

After serving in the US army in World War II, Cliff Phillips returned to Alaska to continue the family fishing operation. As the business matured, Mr. ECP and his son bought the waterfront across the street. Boats would come to dock, and the fish would be loaded in wooden boxes to ship down to the Lower 48. Each container was packed, quality controlled and loaded by a member of Mr. ECP’s family.


Unwavering focus on quality

The company grew because Mr. Phillips played to his strengths as a smaller, family based operation. The company fostered trust with each individual fisherman, and the company soon had extensive operations in Canada and the US. We have been able to maintain high quality fish because of focuses on consistent quality control, rigorous standards and environmental sustainability.

They ran the plant in Ketchikan, AK, side by side and Mr. ECP passed down his learnings until he died in 1974. Since then, the company continues to have close relationships with our partners in Alaska and British Columbia.

Global reach with local traditions

The beginning days of the company were hard. Mr. ECP opened up the fish commercial fishery in Ketchikan at the time, and so struggled to find enough fishermen. He was known to have a particular eye for fish, as he would inspect each net and boat to select the best quality fish.

While troublesome for some fishermen, customers recognized that they were receiving the best products. That commitment continues to this day. Arctic Pearl has rigid quality control standards, an homage to the commitment of Mr. ECP at the company’s founding.