Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 9:14 EDT

Copper River Sockeye Season Strengthens and Continues

July 3, 2013

Sustainability and Quality Drive the Fishery

CORDOVA, Alaska, July 3, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Copper River sockeye season is in full swing. Revered for its deep red color and rich fat-striated bellies, Copper River sockeye is sold fresh throughout the summer months and makes a fabulous entrée perfect for the grill or barbecue. The season officially launched in May, but was quickly stalled for about ten days when fishery biologists needed to err on the side of caution.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130703/DC42197)

According to the Alaska State Constitution, the state’s fisheries must be utilized, developed and maintained on the sustained yield principle, which basically means that the most critical role of state fishery biologists is to ensure that the fish will be available for future generations. This is a complex task that involves carefully monitoring the salmon as they return each year and calculating when and how often the commercial fisheries can harvest.

Towards the end of May and beginning of June, Alaska Department of Fish and Game Gillnet Area Management Biologist, Jeremy Botz, had to exercise extreme caution in order to meet that Constitutional obligation. He explained that due to low water temperatures and water level, along with ice conditions on the Copper River, the fish were not entering the river in numbers large enough to meet in-river escapement objectives. The fish were likely loitering in the fishing district and not entering the river where they could be counted towards the in-river goal. For this reason, the biologists couldn’t get data that they needed in order to allow the fisherman to harvest commercially. As a result, the commercial fishermen in the Copper River district were not given the green light to fish.

The tide has since shifted, and the commercial harvest in the Copper River district is in full force. In an official press release from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game sent early on June 29, 2013, Botz reported that the cumulative Copper River district commercial harvest to date was 1.14 million sockeye. The sockeye are being processed and shipped nationwide and customers can expect to see them through late July and early August.

PCC Natural Markets, located in Seattle, has been committed to selling top quality Copper River sockeye. When the season opened in May, the Copper River sockeye, which was carefully packaged and labeled, was selling rapidly to the co-op’s enthusiastic members. During the lapse in harvest, customers were still looking for sockeye. The fishmongers weathered the waves when necessary and carefully explained the situation. Sven White, Meat & Seafood Merchandiser for PCC Natural Markets explained, “PCC customers look forward to the arrival of Copper River salmon every year and we work hard not to disappoint them. Even when inclement weather after the start of this year’s season temporarily reduced supply, we were able to maintain high quality and competitive prices for this amazing fish.”

For additional information, contact Kim Ryals, Executive Director
Copper River/PWS Marketing Association
Box 199, Cordova, AK 99574 t: 907.424.3459 f: 907.424.3430
www.copperriversalmon.org www.copperrivermarketing.org

SOURCE Copper River/Prince William Sound Marketing Association

Source: PR Newswire