What do they do?: Copper River Prince William Sound Marketing Association

Nonprofits are in existence at large across the United States. According to Zippia, the online job research tool, there are roughly 1.5 million nonprofit entities operating in the country.

The Copper River Prince William Sound Marketing Association, a nonprofit here in town, is lending its expertise and support to 560 drift and set gill net fisherman in the Last Frontier.

According to the organization’s website, the association is a fishermen-funded regional seafood development association.

“Telling the story of wild salmon from wild places and the men and women who harvest them is our primary function,” the website reads.

Christa Hoover, executive director of the association and longtime resident of Cordova, shared some insight into the association, events and challenges the organization is facing.

She said the association is another part of the fishing industry.

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“We are the marketing arm,” Hoover said. “If we are all working for the same constituents, which is the fishing fleet, we have a lot of commonalities and overlap.”

When the fisheries feel pressure the marketing association feels it too, Hoover said. On the flip side of the coin, when things are going well, the “pressure is off” and the organization operates as usual. Currently, the marketing association feels “pretty stable,” Hoover said.

“When there are concerns and issues in fisheries, all three of our organizations are lit up. We all three have different kinds of concerns,” Hoover said.

The marketing association is funded by taxes that fishing fleets agree to pay.

“We have less of those membership drive kinds of issues … we have a tax that the fleet voted in and so it’s compulsory. Our members pay the 1% tax and so that is how we derive our budget,” said Hoover.  

In 2005, the fleet wanted the world to recognize the renowned salmon not just as Alaska salmon, but Copper River Salmon specifically. The marketing association began its endeavor to brand the fish as such, Hoover said.

During the winter, the marketing association is in research and outreach mode, reaching out to food journalists, social media influencers and chefs who can elevate the brand.

“There is a lot of strategizing and planning all winter long,” Hoover said.

The team at the association also attends the Seafood Expo North America — a seafood tradeshow — during the winter, and networks with other buyers across the country and world, she said.

“When you are there, it becomes evident really quickly how small wild salmon as a category is in the big world of seafood,” Hoover said. “It’s a pretty impressive show to go to, and you come back with this really strong sense of purpose because we do this really cool thing here in Alaska — we still fish for wild salmon.”

The quest to strengthen the Cooper River Salmon brand continues to be a strong driving force for the marketing association.

“We are building consumer recognition of Prince William Sound, and it would be really great ten years from now for Copper River Salmon to still be where it is now, and to see Prince William Sound have a name that is recognized and highly sought after,” Hoover said. “ASMI (Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute) has done a beautiful job creating this Alaska brand. I feel really lucky that I get to leverage the work that ASMI does, I don’t have (to) create recognition for Alaska, I just have to create preference for our really beautiful, small product.”

To learn more about the association, visit the website at https://www.copperrivermarketing.org/who-we-are.

“What do they do?” is an ongoing series highlighting nonprofits in Cordova.

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