Sena Wheeler, founder of Sena Sea, with spouse Rich Wheeler, a commercial fisherman and CEO of 60° North, aboard the Miss CamiLou in Cordova. Photo courtesy of 60° Seafoods

Spirits are upbeat with Cordova’s home-grown seafood processors on the eve of the 2024 wild Alaska salmon fishery, with Sena Sea and 60° North Seafoods accepting pre-orders and Copper River Seafoods ready to celebrate its Fish First Day as a family event in Anchorage. 

“I’m really optimistic about this season,” said Rich Wheeler, CEO of 60° North Seafoods. “The Copper River is poised to have a good run. We have a lot of interest (in this fishery) and the demand is just as high, if not higher, than last year. People are really excited about what’s happening right now.” 

Sena Sea, founded by Sena Wheeler, is taking pre-orders for wild Alaska sockeye and king salmon to be harvested once the fishery begins with a 12-hour opener on May 16. 

“We are about sold out completely of the 2023 inventory,” he said.  Wheeler gives much credit for all those sales to the Copper River/Prince William Sound Marketing Association (CRPWSMA), for getting the word out about the high quality of Copper River reds and kings.   

This year the marketing association is collaborating with the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association to promote the nutritional value and other attributes of sockeye salmon from the waters of both fisheries. 

Fresh pre-ordered 2024 Sena Sea fillets of fresh Copper River sockeye are priced at $88 a pound, and frozen pre-ordered 2024 Copper River sockeye fillets are $98 a pound. Fresh pre-ordered 2024 Copper River kings are $127 a pound and frozen pre-ordered filets of kings are $121 a pound. All prices include delivery everywhere in the Lower 48 states. 

Advertisement

Copper River Seafoods is not taking pre-orders this year but is planning its annual Fish First event in Anchorage, this year set for the afternoon of May 18 at the Hilltop ski area.  The focus is on families getting to taste the fresh caught, nutrient rich salmon prepared by several of Anchorage’s top chefs and educating people on the economic importance of the salmon fisheries to the state economy, said Cassandra Squibb, of Copper River Seafoods. 

Other purveyors of Copper River Seafood include Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle and FishEx in Anchorage, an online retail establishment. 

Pre-order prices at Pike Place Fish Market include whole, four-pound Copper River sockeyes for $159.96 and fillets for $59.99 a pound, plus whole, fresh Copper River kings of undesignated size for $489.93 per fish and $99.99 for king salmon fillets. 

During the first full week of May, FishEx was posting a price of $63.71 a pound for premium portions of fresh Copper River king salmon and $59.46 a pound for premium portions of fresh Copper River sockeye salmon. 

Tenth & M Seafoods and New Sagaya, two of Anchorage’s most popular retail markets for Alaska seafood, were not taking pre-orders on the Copper River catch.  Simon and Seafort’s Saloon and Grill, one of the city’s most popular seafood restaurants, was planning a special entrée to mark the start of the Copper River fishery. 

This story originally ran in the May 10 issue of The Cordova Times.

Advertisement