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Meet the Fleet

A community committed to preservation and conservation.

 

The fishing families of southcentral Alaska are independent, small business owners dedicated to long term sustainability of the salmon stocks, environment and way of life. Our passion not only preserves our livelihood but also ensures abundance for future generations. 

 



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Michael Bowen, F/V Jenna Marie

Hometown: Anchorage, AK

Fishing ...

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Hometown: Anchorage, AK

Fishing since: 1970
"I started fishing the Copper River with my Dad as a kid and it is what love to do."

The Copper River: There are many things that set Copper River Salmon apart - the most unique one for me is the diversity of sockeye salmon stocks that return to the watershed. This allows for a 3 month long sockeye fishery.

Favorite way to prepare: Spicy/sweet dry rub with barbecue.

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Darin Gilman, F/V Red Line

Hometown: Cordova, AK<>

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Hometown: Cordova, AK
Fishing since: 2009

"I'm a third generation fisherman, I'm thankful for the knowledge that's been passed down to me."

Commercial Fishing: "I like the rush of it. It can be an emotional roller coaster sometimes. Just don't get discouraged--keep your net wet."

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Kent Herschleb, F/V Savonia

Hometown: Portland, OR
Fishing since: 1968

 

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Hometown: Portland, OR
Fishing since: 1968

 

Commercial fishing: "Is a family affair for us; grandpa, uncle, brothers, sons, daughters, nieces, and nephews, grand nephew--all out of the great little town of Cordova.”
The Copper River: "Is a national treasure."

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Kelsey Opstad, F/V China Cat

Finshing since: 2009

Kelsey's passion for the...

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Finshing since: 2009

Kelsey's passion for the Alaskan lifestyle is rooted in her Alaskan upbringing. She started as many of the members of the fleet began, as a deckhand. Three seasons later it was time to buy into a passion and a lifestyle that she loves. “I love the freedom to see where my work goes. This business is risky, you never know what the market is going to do, or the nature of the resource, but you can’t back down from things because you are afraid.“ Kelsey’s fortitude and motivation inspire as one of the youngest female captains in the fleet. “Keep it simple,” she says when asked about how she cooks her salmon, and that seems to be the best way to sum up Kelsey’s outlook, keep it fresh, simple, and stay in it!

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Ezekiel Brown, F/V Meshed Up

Hometown: Cordova, AK

Fishing since: 2011

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Hometown: Cordova, AK

Fishing since: 2011

Commercial Fishing: "Has a lot more value to me than just as a way to make money. I grew up with salmon in my life, it's built into this place. I'm lucky enough to catch these fish and be able to share them with others."

The Copper River: "Is like having a gold mine in your backyard!"

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Brian Rutzer, F/V Controller Bay

Hometown: Cordova, AK

Fishing since: 1984

The...

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Hometown: Cordova, AK

Fishing since: 1984

The Copper River: "It's the place to be for great fishing, great community and wild nature. The long season, high oil content and quality minded fishermen of the Copper River and Prince William Sound set this salmon apart."

Favorite way to prepare: Simply grilled

 

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John Bocci, F/V Wingham

Hometown: Cordova, AK

Commercial Fishing: "It's...

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Hometown: Cordova, AK

Commercial Fishing: "It's an extraordinary, challenging and richly rewarding way to make a living. It's awesome to be able to be a primary producer of food, the better the product the better I feel about it."

The Copper River: "It's the water mon, not to mention the oil content in the flesh and those omega 3's."

Favorite way to prepare: "We like to keep it simple, if its fresh then just a dash of salt and pepper. If its been frozen then I like it blackened, quickly with a good cajun rub.

Favorite memories: Fishing early morning "low water" sets in the fall, hopefully watching the stars and northern lights fade into the sunrise. If you've been truly blessed then there's a flock of cranes in the picture somewhere.

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Thea Thomas, F/V Myrmidon

Hometown: Cordova, AK

Fishing since: 1987

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Hometown: Cordova, AK

Fishing since: 1987

Commercial Fishing: "It is the best possible job. It is challenging, fun, and we work in one the most beautiful places on earth, harvesting one of the world's very best foods."

The Copper River: It's that long cold river, and the high oil content necessary for them to fight their way home, giving them all that wonderful rich flavor."

Favorite way to prepare: "Marinated in my own lime juice, soy sauce, olive oil marinade and then grilled."

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