NVE, city collaborate on upcoming fishing season

The Cordova Center. (April 14, 2020) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

Municipal and tribal leaders are working collaboratively to assure reasonable guidelines are in place for the Copper River fishery, the celebrated annual kick-off of Alaska’s wild salmon season, in the midst of efforts to keep the COVID-19 pandemic at bay.

The city of Cordova and Native Village of Eyak said in a joint statement issued on Thursday, April 23, that they had decided some time ago to enter into a dialogue early on in order to facilitate agreement and a path forward.

Commercial fishing has been deemed an essential industry by state officials through the COVID-19 travel and work restrictions, meaning they can continue as long as participants submit operating plans to the state Commerce Department that adhere to current health mandates.

The city has laid out online at covid19.cityofcordova.net mandates for residents and all visitors alike. Effective Thursday, April 23, face coverings became mandatory at the airport, harbor and all other places of business, in fact anywhere where six feet of distancing is unlikely to work.

“The Native Village of Eyak is pleased to be a partner with the city of Cordova to explore all options to keep our community/fisherman safe through this pandemic,” said tribal council chair Darrel Olsen. “We welcome any input and suggestions as our priority is our residents. We are fortunate to have 12 leaders to combine our resources, knowledge, networks and manpower to keep our homelands safe. We are all in this together. Thank you, city of Cordova for your partnership. Everyone please stay safe and we will do fine as a community.”

Cordova Mayor Clay Koplin also expressed appreciation for the discussions.


“I am proud of our city and tribal leadership coming together to share resources and opportunities and joining forces to confront challenges to protect the health and safety of our residents,” Koplin said. “It sets an example for the whole community to work together through this difficult time and we will prevail.”