This morning at 7 a.m. commercial fishermen of the Copper River let their nets into the water to officially kick off the 2014 Alaska salmon season. Each year, salmon lovers worldwide anticipate the first harvest of Copper River kings and sockeyes and the first tastes of fresh wild Alaska salmon.
“The small boat harbor in Cordova is absolutely bustling with activity,” said Kim Ryals, the Executive Director for the Copper River/Prince William Sound Marketing Association. “There’s no place more exciting on the Alaska coast than Cordova at the start of salmon season. Our tiny town doubles in size in less than a month and all attention turns to the work of bringing in the fish.”
Today’s 12-hour fishing period will send the first of Copper River salmon to celebrations in Seattle and points beyond. Salmon connoisseurs from Anchorage to New York eagerly await the flavorful legendary fish, and restaurants and seafood counters prepare for the first wave of Alaska salmon to hit the market. “Salmon fans across the nation are wild about fish from our region, and for good reason,” added Ryals. “The fish are known for their deep red hue, high Omega-3 content, incredible quality and the fleet of family fishermen who bring in the harvest.”
The Copper River and Prince William Sound region is home to generations of fishing families who are proud to make the local harvest their passion and their way of life. Handling each individual fish with care, these artisan fishermen are dedicated to delivering the highest quality product to America’s seafood markets.
This year, in addition to events at high-end restaurants and seafood markets, the commercial fishing fleet of the Copper River is also providing for its fellow Alaskans. “A ‘First Fish’ lunch at Clare House in Anchorage will take place on Saturday, May 17,” said Jeff Olsen, one of the fishermen departing the Cordova harbor. “Members of the fleet and a few of our wives will assist Chef Gerber of the Crow’s Nest Restaurant in preparing a special meal for residents. Our fishermen are honored and proud to share the first of our bounty with our neighbors.” Clare House provides temporary, emergency 24-hour shelter for women with children and expectant mothers over 18.
After today’s inaugural opener, the Alaska Department of Fish & Game will make announcements about future openings, which typically take place on Monday and Thursday mornings.