Part One: Harvesting the Ocean for Salt with Sustainable Methods and Advanced Safety Protocols

I remember, when my grandmother explained about grey salt and white salt.

She said that grey salt was from the southern part of the island and that white salt was from lagoon. The locals keep the water in coconut shells and then, leave them outside. The water will air dry (solar evaporation) and the sand that remains in the shell…that’s salt.

I was born native to, Guam. It’s a tropical Island that is located in the South Pacific and part of Oceania, a U.S. Territory and approximately 30 x 15 (miles in size).


“Spanish Steps” Beach, GUAM, USA


Solar Evaporation (what grandma used to make salt) and hydro-distillation are ancient methods of harvesting from the ocean.

We could rightly say that other ancient methods for harvesting from the ocean are things like using bamboo spears to catch fish or Cormorant Fishing (created ~900AD). Cormorant Fishermen are only found in Japan and China. They use cormorants fitted with special collars that prevent their necks from hyper expansion / swallowing fish. The birds are trained to dive for fish and return to the boat.

Give him and bird and he will eat for a day.  Train him to train a bird to fish for him, and…

Comorant Fishing in China's Yongjia County, Zhejiang Province.
Cormorant Fishing in China’s Yongjia County, Zhejiang Province..

Of course, times have changed and technology has greatly improved upon the design of the bamboo spear. Using rust proof metal and ballistics, we now have the spear-gun. The 1,000 year old method of cormorant fishing is all but, extinct. It has been outpaced by modern fishing vessels, sonar technology and advanced capture methods.

Yet, we still harvest salt from the sea like our ancestors. 

cargil california
California- Air Drying Bay water for Sea Salt
Celtic – Raking Air Dried Sea Salt
india salt
India – Raking Air Dried Sea Salt
Peru – Collecting Air Dried Sea Salt
Hawaii – Collecting Air Dried Sea Salt

The ocean is no longer the great blue sea of our grandparents.

Rapid industrial growth has led to aggressive dumping of synthetic toxins, organic pollutants and radioactive waste directly to the ocean. We live in a world where our water (fresh and salt) contains unprecedented levels of pollution.


Sea Salt Extracted From Ponte Vedra Beach (from left to right) – Datil Pepper Salt Flakes, Pure Ponte Vedra, Sawgrass Leaf Smoked Artisan

(what I ended up with after test melting salt at 1,500 degrees fahrenheit for mold capabilities)

This is part one, of my journey back to sea. 

Join me, as I research, test and design modern techniques that honor the past through sustainable methodologies of harvesting sea salt that is fit for human consumption.



Author: Matt Sanchez


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