Demand for Copper River salmon opener remains high

Some retail markets waiting to see what they will pay before posting prices online

On the eve of the Copper River commercial salmon season opener, folks at the famed Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle are betting that orders for those first run Chinooks and sockeyes will be robust, despite soaring prices.

The online message from Pike Place Fish Market encourages folks to pre-order, since the Copper River salmon season can last anywhere from 24 hours to several weeks and only Mother Nature will determine how long that season will last.

The rising cost of so many things, from groceries to fuel and real estate, justifies the prices posted for this year’s first run Copper River Chinook and sockeye salmon, said Ryan Reese, a spokesperson for the famed Seattle fish market.  That includes $899.99 for a whole Copper River king salmon and $199.95 for a Copper River sockeye.

Pike Place is also taking orders for fillets of Copper River kings, at $129.99 a pound and fillets of Copper River sockeyes at $74.98 a pound.

People are excited about the Copper River opener on May 16 and the orders are rolling in, Reese said.

Our customers are more concerned about the quality of the fish than the price, he said. That said, Pike Place and other marketers have no idea what prices they will have to pay to access the fish.

“Everyone has to protect themselves,” Reese said. “Kings are a very limited supply every year. The serious connoisseurs are filing up their freezers.” 

Others will place average orders of three pounds of fillets.

Copper River Seafoods, with offices in Cordova and Anchorage, is offering eight-ounce portions of Copper River kings for $89 a pound and eight-ounce portions of Copper River sockeyes at $49.99 a pound. Pre-ordering was encouraged, with a promise of free shipping on orders of $350+.

Previously frozen eight-ounce portions of Copper River coho salmon were marked down to $25.99 a pound and frozen sockeye salmon burger meat was $13.99 a pound.

The online pitch promises that “If you haven’t experienced Copper River salmon, it’s a difference you can taste! Copper River salmon is exceptional in every way.”

Copper River Seafoods did not respond to a request for comment on the number of pre-orders or average number of pounds ordered.

Rich Wheler of 60 degrees North Seafood said their company had a waiting list for Chinooks, but that they had no posted prices yet for either the kings or sockeyes. No prices were posted yet either for 10th & M Seafoods New Sagaya, both popular Anchorage seafood markets.