Copper River salmon fishery picks up
By Steven Hedlund, SeafoodSource editor
20 May, 2009
Alaska’s Copper River salmon fishery, which is slated to open for its third 12-hour period on Thursday, kicked into high gear on Monday.
Monday’s 12-hour opener yielded 95,562 sockeye, up from just 20,216 sockeye on Thursday’s 12-hour opener that marked the start of the coveted fishery, according to the Alaska Department of Fish & Game. However, only 1,098 kings were harvested on Monday, down from 1,549 kings on Thursday.
This season’s fishery is forecasted to yield 509,584 sockeye and 30,725 kings. Last season, it produced 321,000 sockeye (the fourth smallest catch since 1970) and 11,500 kings (down from the 10-year average of 43,059 fish).
On opening day, processors paid fishermen USD 5.30 (EUR 3.84) a pound for kings and USD 3.50 (EUR 2.53) for reds, slightly less than last year.
Wholesale prices are also reportedly down from last year, when chefs and retailers in the Lower 48 dished out up to USD 50 (EUR 36.20) a pound for kings and USD 30 (EUR 21.72) for reds.
Both ex-vessel and wholesale prices of Copper River salmon drop gradually as the season progresses.
This year’s first delivery of Copper River salmon — about 20,000 pounds of fish — arrived at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Friday morning via Alaska Airlines. The Copper River run is the unofficial start of Alaska’s summer salmon season.
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20 May, 2009