Alaska’s Copper River Sockeye Season Remains Steady

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Whole and Filleted Fresh Sockeye Salmon Bring Value to the Kitchen and the Grill

Copper River sockeye purchased whole at QFC, filleted and portioned for free by their skillful fishmonger. Photo by Melissa A. Trainer, June 2015.

Copper River sockeye is just an awesome eating experience and we know there are still a lot of people who haven’t engaged and experienced it.

The 2015 Copper River sockeye season is in full swing. A premium wild salmon frequently requested by restaurateurs nationwide, the fish hail from the pristine glacial fed waters of the Copper River and are naturally rich in heart healthy Omega-3s. According to Jeremy Botz, the Gillnet Area Management Biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, as of June 13th, the 2015 season appeared to be the 7th largest harvest on record with a cumulative harvest through that period of 907,400 sockeye (contact Jeremy with questions at (907)424-3212 or visit for more information about the Copper River salmon run).

Consumers can purchase fresh whole fish and fillets at a reasonable price and experiment more readily with the moderately-sized fillets in their home kitchen and on their grills. According to the Copper River/Prince William Sound Marketing Association, the price point creates opportunities for culinary experimentation. Experienced and novice cooks can use different preparations, grilling the whole fillets all at once and incorporating the leftovers into creative new dishes such as Salmon Nicoise or Salmon Salad. They can also extend the season beyond the summer months by purchasing the whole fish or fillets, having them portioned at the supermarket, and freezing them at home in airtight packaging for use later in the summer or the fall.

During the month of June, QFC, a Kroger-owned NW grocer specializing in fresh local products, featured Copper River sockeye on ad numerous times. Offering special pricing for both whole fish and fillets, the promotions were a great way to get customers excited about and engaged in the Copper River sockeye season right off the bat.

According to Danna Kiracofe, the Meat and Seafood Sales Manager for QFC in Bellevue, the demand for this fish continues to grow both domestically and globally each year so they prioritize it early on in the season. He said, “Alaska seafood and in particular Copper River salmon are items that our customers here in the Pacific Northwest truly appreciate. Our associates and customers look forward to this seasonal item and engage in it heavily. So we want to show our appreciation for our customers by offering a great value on a product they truly enjoy.” The promotions were well received and demand often exceeded supply.

Kiracofe said, “Copper River sockeye is just an awesome eating experience and we know there are still a lot of people who haven’t engaged and experienced it. The nature of the river itself lends to the uniqueness of the fish it produces, with it being such a long and cold river. Only the phenomenal fish make it. It’s just a great fish. We urge customers to buy it when they see it.”

For additional information about Copper River Salmon, contact:

Christa Hoover, Executive Director
Copper River/PWS Marketing Association
Box 199, Cordova, AK 99574: t: 907.424.3459

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Christa Hoover
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