THE CORKLINE

Fishermen Giving Back: Senior Salmon Day

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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An Annual Event

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Senior Salmon Day is an annual event held every June and is scheduled around fishing openers and delivery schedules so fresh deliveries of salmon can be guaranteed. Cordova District Fishermen United (CDFU), the local fisherman’s advocacy group, facilitates the delivery of donated salmon fillets to the elders of Cordova’s community.

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Events like this are a time when Cordova’s fishing fleet shows how eager they are to give back and share this amazing resource. Copper River fishermen go above and beyond on Senior Salmon Day to donate part of their salmon catch to Cordova’s local senior citizens and hospitals. Every year, regardless of a fisherman’s success, these fillets are donated for the benefit of those in the community who may not be able to access fresh fish themselves.

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A Fishery Wide Effort

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Senior Salmon Day does not just engage fishermen but all participants of Cordova’s commercial fisheries as well including tenders, processors, non-profit organizations and citizen volunteers. From 2008 to 2017 the fishing fleet has donated roughly 200-500 whole salmon each year. That’s a lot of meals! Tenders also have continued to donate their time and storage space to deliver the salmon to local processors. Processing facilities like Trident Seafoods, Ocean Beauty Seafoods and Copper River Seafoods donate time and labor to prepare and deliver the salmon fillets to CDFU. CDFU’s staff then prepares individual bags of fillets for deliveries and handouts to over 200 local elders. This event is truly a time when everyone comes together to share the abundant salmon resources available to them from the waters of the Copper River Delta and Prince William Sound.

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As our senior citizens arrive in the early morning to receive their fillets they take the time to share words of thanks and appreciation for the generosity of the fleet. They leave with smiles and a little hop in their step as they head home with the anticipation of being able to prepare a wonderful salmon dish. The community’s gratitude, for everyone involved, is passed on when letters of thanks are written to every fishermen, processor, and individuals involved in the process of making Senior Salmon Day such a success. It’s clear that the commercial fishing fleet cares about their community with the same passion and dedication that they practice when harvesting wild Copper River salmon—only the best will do!

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Guest Contribution by:

Jocelyn Layte, Administrative Assistant & Program Coordinator at Cordova District Fisherman United

(www.CDFU.org)

 

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