In the seafood world, this is one of the most exciting times of the year. The Copper River in south-central Alaska is where you’ll find the first salmon of the season as they return to the rivers and streams, where they were hatched years before, to spawn and lay their own eggs.
The Copper River is one of the longest and most rugged – 300 miles of pristine glacier-fed waters with hundreds of rapids. Because the salmon have such a long way to travel to the spawning grounds, not eating much along the way, they store extra fats and oils prior to leaving the ocean and heading up the rivers to make this treacherous trek. The high fat and oil contents are why Copper River salmon are recognized as one of the tastiest salmon to eat!
Our Copper River salmon are brought from the waters to your tables responsibly and sustainably by Alaska Seafood. We’re proud to have Alaska Seafood as a partner in our Responsibly Sourced program. They do an excellent job of respecting their fish and they serve as a model of fisheries management around the globe.
In fact, Alaska has it written into their constitution to protect these salmon. Fishermen are only allowed to fish during a certain period of time, which is called an “opener,” based on the amount of fish that have already made it upstream to spawn. Salmon openers are setup to ensure the survival of this species.
But how do they know if enough fish have passed into the river system? Alaska uses combinations of historical data, catch ratios, aerial surveys and actual hand and sonar counts. Because the fish are unpredictable, management is done on a day to day and hour by hour basis. This is why the openers and the length of fishing time vary – fishermen could fish one or two times one week, and none the next. One opener could be four hours long, the next 48 hours.
Because of the care and attention Alaska pays to these fish, we’re excited to provide their salmon for you to enjoy!
Scott Kersting, director of meat and seafood