THE CORKLINE

Here in Cordova, homeport the Copper River gillnet fleet, it’s never hard to find a sense of pride in the community. Cordova has a rich history in commercial fishing, our fleet is multigenerational and hails from various areas of Alaska. Even with a diverse group, they are never shy to reach out a helping hand to the local community when the opportunity arises.

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Famously Fresh

Copper River salmon is famous for being the first fresh Alaskan salmon on the market every Spring. The Copper River fleet fishes a long season beginning in May and extending all the way to September. Throughout this entire time Copper River salmon can be found fresh in stores across the country. As any seafood lover knows there’s nothing quite like tasting wild seafood that was caught only hours before hitting your plate. So, how does our wild salmon get to your plate in such excellent condition?

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Courtesy of Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute

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Delivered Timely

Thanks to our friends at Alaska Airlines, Copper River Salmon can be delivered fresh to the West Coast within 48 hours of being harvested on the Copper River flats—that’s one fresh fish! But it's not just timing that keeps our wild salmon looking and tasting beautiful. A lot of meticulous quality handling is a part of this process as well.

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From the moment a fisherman pulls their net over the bow, quality handling of the fish has begun. Once picked from the net, each fish is quickly bled. Bleeding each salmon is an important step in maintaining the pure taste that wild Alaskan salmon is known for because when blood is left inside of the flesh it can result in a fishy taste. Besides taste, removing all residual blood can also help extend the freshness of the fish.

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Korey Vargo on the F/V Katia Dawn picks a sockeye from his net

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Important Ice

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Salmon Fishing 101.2 Follow along to learn more about commercial fishing for Copper River and Prince William Sound wild salmon

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Meredith Steele - Steele House Kitchen

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Holiday season stand by, making Copper River King Salmon pickled fish

A sense of well being and contentment: Hygge

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It is December on Alaska’s Copper River.


Temperatures dip into negatives. The sun arcs low on the horizon. Small streams freeze to the bottom; rivers and lakes freeze on top. Energy in any form is scarce.


And yet, wild Copper River salmon are growing.


They began in late summer and fall, spawned by their parents into redds. Their mothers and fathers built these nests especially for them. They chose a place where the gravel was just the right size, where water flowed not too fast and not too slow, where predators might not find them. They conceived and hid their eggs here, leaving them everything they had. Then, they died.


The eggs are here still, buried, waiting. They will stay here until the Copper warms again. Sustained by their yolk sac, they must grow strong enough to emerge from the gravel and feed in the spring. In the meantime, some will be eaten. Some will freeze and others will be washed away. Some eggs will contract disease and perish.


And yet, many will survive.

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