Fish Radio

Copper River salmon prices high, fish small

May 19, 2016

Alaska Airline pilot delivers first Copper River king salmon to Seattle, 2016

Alaska Airlines pilot delivers first Copper River king salmon to Seattle, 2016


This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – A slow start at Copper River but sky high prices. I’ll tell you more after this –

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Alaska’s salmon season officially got underway on Monday with a 12 hour opener for the first runs of sockeyes and kings to the Copper River.

Sounds like it was pretty slow to start. Small fish, not too many of them – I’m hearing around 25,000 reds caught and  1,300-1,500 kings, which is pretty good for kings.  

Kelsey Appleton is with Cordova District Fishermen United.

Following a trend seen over the past couple of years, the salmon were healthy but smaller.  Weights taken on several hundred samples showed sockeyes averaging just 4.2 pounds, 15 percent smaller than last year. Sockeye salmon normally average six pounds. Fish scientists blame a warming ocean for the smaller salmon.

But nothing dampened the spirits of Cordovans as the town turned out for the traditional to’greet the fleet’ coming home after the first  opener. And the first fish attracted the usual media hoopla.

Oh yea, we had KTVA here and Alaska Airlines with a film crew and the Copper River Queens even made a First Fish appearance.  

The Queens are a group of ladies in salmon outfits who for decades have appeared at Cordova events.

Of course, the biggest fish story of the day was the price. $6.50 for sockeyes and $9.50 for kings. That compares to starting prices last year of $5.15 and $6.50, respectively.

 Crazy high prices which is fantastic.  

The prices typically drop a bit when more salmon come on line across Alaska, but those starting prices are some of the highest ever.

The region’s 500 plus fleet was set to be back out on the water Thursday. Kelsey Appleton says the town is pumped.

We’re all pretty excited and it’s a sunny day here. We’re excited to see what happens tomorrow – this is usually around the time when it starts to pick up again.

Find links to Alaska salmon catches and more at our website –

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, an Alaska corporation proudly supporting Alaska’s coastal communities and the Alaskans who depend on fishing for their livelihoods and culture.    In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.