Copper River salmon opener set
The Copper River salmon fishery is set to open at 7 a.m. on Thursday, 13 May, for a 12-hour period, the Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G) announced recently.
The fishery marks the unofficial start of Alaska’s summer salmon season, and delivery of the first batch of fish usually draws a lot of media attention, especially in the Pacific Northwest. Last year, Alaska Airlines promoted its delivery of the first batch of fish to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
According to the ADF&G, this year’s Copper River salmon run is projected to total 49,000 chinook and 2.17 million sockeye, and the harvest is forecasted to reach 25,000 chinook and 1.49 million sockeye.
If realized, the 2010 chinook run would be the second smallest since 1999 and only slightly larger than the preliminary 2009 run of 44,000 fish, while the 2010 sockeye run would be the 10th largest since 1980 and about 50,000 above the recent five-year average of 2.13 million fish.
Last year, the Copper River salmon fishery kicked off on 14 May. According the preliminary ADF&G figures, fishermen harvested 9,500 chinook, the smallest harvest in more than 40 years, well below the 10-year average of 37,000 fish, and 897,000 sockeye, below the 10-year average of 1.2 million. Fishermen also netted 208,000 coho, below the 10-year average of 295,000 fish.