For Copper River harvesters, the third time was the charm

For more than 300 fishermen, the third 12-hour opener of the Copper River commercial salmon harvesters was the charm, with a big boost of harvests of sockeye, Chinook and chum salmon.

Preliminary harvest reports posted on Tuesday by biologists in the Cordova office of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game put the catch from third 12-hour opener on Monday at 36,968 sockeyes, 2,500 chum and 1,152 Chinooks brought in to processors in 283 deliveries.

“It started out slow and then a lot of the fleet moved offshore,” said veteran harvester Bill Webber of Cordova, whose catch for the third opener was a couple hundred sockeyes.

That brought the total commercial harvest from the three Copper River commercial salmon openers to 58,890 sockeyes, 3,263 chums and 3,011 Chinooks.

Demand for freshly harvested wild Alaska salmon is robust, and aficionados of fresh wild Copper River salmon know when it’s gone, it’s gone.

At the famed Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle season opener prices ran from $69.99 a pound for fresh fillets of Copper River sockeyes and $79.99 a pound for fresh fillets Copper River kings to $179.99 for a whole four-pound Copper River sockeye and $549.99 for a whole fresh king salmon.

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Online seafood purveyor FishEx in Anchorage had  “premium portions” of fresh Copper River kings for $74.95 a pound and “premium portions” of fresh Copper River sockeyes for $54.95.

New Sagaya’s seafood section has sockeye fillets for $34.95 a pound.

Fine dining Anchorage area restaurants are offering specials on Copper River salmon entrees, including the $72 king salmon fillet at Orso.

There are some bargains to be had still on frozen fillets of the 2022 catch of Copper River reds, including two eight-ounce portions of Copper River sockeyes for $23.99 at Copper River Seafoods, while their fresh wild copper River king salmon eight-ounce portions are two for $69.

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