Martinek honored at Copper River Nouveau

From left, Katrina Hoffman and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska present the 2019 Fisheries Achievement Award to winner Gary Martinek, and his wife, Karen Martinek. Photo by Bree Mills and Annalee Ladd/courtesy of PWSSC

Over 75 people turned out June 8 to honor hatchery manager Gary Martinek with a Fisheries Achievement Award in tribute to his over 25 years of pioneering otolith marking techniques and improving sockeye salmon hatchery management practices.

Prince William Sound Science Center presented the award before the Copper River Nouveau, its annual fine dining and auction fundraiser at the Cordova Center.

Martinek retired about two years ago as manager of the Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation’s Gulkana Hatchery.

Executive Chef Nancy Alip puts some finishing touches on the dishes. Photo by Bree Mills and Annalee Ladd/courtesy of PWSSC

This year’s Copper River Nouveau guest chef was Nancy Alip, owner and executive chef of Jens’ Restaurant in Anchorage.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, was the honorary host for this dinner, which offers gourmet food and opportunities to meet with federal and regional elected officials, scientists, educators, fishermen and others dedicated to maintaining socioeconomic resilience among healthy ecosystems.

One of the courses prepared by executive chef Nancy Alip, owner of Jens’ restaurant in Anchorage. Photo by Bree Mills and Annalee Ladd/courtesy of PWSSC

The dinner, plus a silent and live auction help raise funds for the center’s research and education projects.


“Timed to celebrate the return of wild salmon, Copper River Nouveau is a celebration of regional resilience, science, education, our community, and wild salmon,” said Katrina Hoffman, president and chief executive officer of the PWSSC.

“The funds raised at Copper River Nouveau are critical to the Science Center’s ability to carry out its mission, and PWSSC’s success is bolstered by the generosity shown by so many each year. At this year’s Nouveau, the Science Center revealed their plans for a new campus at Shelter Cove, and with that reveal, officially launched the public phase of their capital campaign, looking forward to their next 30 years of success,” she said.

Nouveau guest auctioneer April Powers, of Magic 98.9 radio in Anchorage, left, and PWSSC President Katrina Hoffman. Photo by Bree Mills and Annalee Ladd/courtesy of PWSSC

And, Hoffman added in a letter to The Cordova Times editor, “at our gala, generous locals and visitors alike blew our past fundraising records out of the water while enjoying an incredible four-course meal.

“It was fulfilling to see all the support for what we’ve done to advance community resilience and the understanding and sustainable use of ecosystems over the past 30 years, as well as the excitement about where we’re going as we revealed concepts for our new campus,” she said.

Major sponsors for this year’s event included ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobile, Rim Architects, The Eyak Corp., Chugach Alaska Corp., CoBank, Trident Seafoods, Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., Birch Horton Bittner & Cherot, Boeing, BP, Cascadia Cross-Border Law, GCI, Lynden, Matson, Meera Kohler and Ocean Beauty Seafoods.

“We couldn’t have done it without the help of about 40 dedicated volunteers from all over town,” Katrina Hoffman said. “Thanks to our awesome community — the ‘Nouveau glow’ will last a long time. Thanks for sharing the love, Cordova!”

A complete list of all sponsors and in-kind donors may be found online at