Second opener for Copper River District set by ADF&G

Daughter-father duo Rita and Joe Spann deliver fresh Copper River king salmon from her gillnetter F/V Naiad to local fishing tender F/V Blue C’s on the opening day of the Copper River commercial salmon harvest, Monday, May 16. Photo by Molly McGraw of the F/V Blue C’s

A second 12-hour opener for the Copper River District commercial salmon fishery was set for Thursday, May 19, by biologists from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Cordova, despite concerns of some harvesters over icy water conditions and a slow sockeye salmon run.

ADF&G announced on Wednesday, May 18, that the second opener would begin at 7 a.m. and that waters within the expanded Chinook salmon inside closure area would be closed for that period.

Jared Moser of Alaska Data Solutions holds a 28-pound Copper River king, part of a number of kings and sockeye salmon that Copper River Seafoods delivered in Anchorage on Tuesday, May 16. Harvesters took advantage of the good weather on Monday, May 15, during the 12-hour season opener for commercial salmon fishing to harvest an estimated 2,702 king salmon averaging 13 pounds, and some 12,800 sockeyes averaging 5.3 pounds, plus about 30 chum salmon. Biologist Jeremy Botz at the Cordova office of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said water in the rivers is still low and there is a lot of ice still in the rivers. On Saturday, May 21, Copper River Seafoods is collaborating with the American Cancer Society to hold a fund raiser complete with gourmet fresh salmon appetizers at the Petroleum Club of Anchorage. Tickets are on sale at MyAlaskaTix.com. Photo by Margaret Bauman/for The Cordova Times

During the Commercial fishing season, subsistence harvest may occur in the Copper River District concurrent in time and area with commercial fishing periods until the Copper River District is closed at the end of the season. In addition, waters within the district, excluding the expanded Chinook salmon inside closure area, are open to subsistence fishing rom 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on all Saturdays between May 16 and Oct. 31.

Prince William Sound management area salmon subsistence permits are available through any ADF&G

Office or at adfg.alaska.gov/store.

Deckhand Mac Smith stands proud with a fresh Copper River king salmon on the F/V October Skye during the opening day of the Copper River Flats, Monday, May 16. Photo by Matt Maxwell of the F/V October Skye and Slack Tide Seafoods

Cordova District Fishermen United supported a decision for that second opener, “but many of us are saying the river is cold, let’s wait until Monday, said harvester John Renner, a CDFU vice president.

Average prices to harvesters were $15 a pound for kings and $13 a pound for sockeyes, with average wholesale prices of $39 a pound for Chinooks and $29 a pound for sockeyes, Renner said.