Copper River set for 24-hour opener on June 28

A fishing vessel near Cordova Harbor. (May 16, 2021) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

Commercial fishing on the Copper River begins an eighth opener on Monday, June 28, for a 24-hour drift gillnet fishery.

The announcement on Saturday, June 26, from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Cordova office, also noted that, during the commercial fishing season, subsistence harvests may occur in the Copper River district concurrently with the commercial harvest period.

The Bering River district remains closed to commercial fishing, while the Coghill district, with some exclusions, will also open for a 24-hour commercial drift gillnet fishery on Monday.

Eshamy district will be open for commercial gillnet harvests for 12 hours on Monday. The Unakwik district will open to commercial drift gillnet and purse seine harvests for 24 hours. The Montague district will open for purse seine fishing for 48 hours, as will certain areas of the Southwestern district for 24-hour purse seiner openers.

All the Monday openers begin at 8 a.m.

While some retail markets have begun lowering prices for Copper River Chinook and sockeye salmon, others, like Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, were still offering Copper River Chinook fillets for $79.98 a pound, Copper River sockeye fillets for $34.99 a pound and whole Copper River sockeyes for $99.99 a pound.

Preliminary harvest estimates for Prince William Sound, including the Copper River, as of Saturday, June 26, included 7,548 Chinook, 333,667 sockeye, 489 coho, 588,533 chum and 2,166 pink salmon.

According to the ADF&G blue sheet, which posts updated harvest reports daily, the statewide estimated harvest total is 8.9 million salmon, including 45,000 Chinook, 1.4 million chum, 3,000 coho, 3 million pink, and 4.4 million sockeyes.