Ready, Set… Fish!

Tomorrow is big…. real big! Since Cordova is a fishing town (that’s putting it lightly), you’d probably guess that the beginning of the fishing season is pretty important.  But did you know that Cordova also has the earliest wild Alaskan salmon commercial opener?  That’s right — every fresh-fish-craving, blue-blooded American (and some foreigners, too) are going to fight over tomorrow’s catch.  And this isn’t just any salmon, either.  This is Copper River Salmon, world-renown for its superior quality, taste & sustainability.  By Friday, the first Copper River Salmon of the year will be flown to Seattle with pomp and fanfare on Alaska Airlines Cargo, to chefs waiting on the tarmack.  In an Iron Chef – style flash of grandeur, these pros will compete to make the tastiest dish of the day with this magical ingredient for a chance to win a trip to Cordova (and some sweet bragging rights).  In fact, there are Copper River Salmon Cook-off events like this going on all over Seattle and as far south as Dallas, Texas!

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Cordova fisherman, Micah Ess, heading out for the first opener of the Copper River Salmon Season, 2013. Photo by Michelle Dockins.

But Cordova fishermen aren’t so concerned with this kind of pageantry, as with little things like the new hydraulics they hope will work like they’re supposed to, fishery projections, the weather, and whether all their licenses and permits are all filed correctly (paperwork is not always their strong suit). Born-n-bred Cordovan and Cordova District Fishermen United employee, Kelsey Appleton, gives a nice synopsis here:

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Kelsey Appleton is a born and bred Cordova local and works for Cordova District Fishermen United.

Tomorrow marks the start of the 2013 salmon season, obvious to those of us who have seen it a time or two by the hustle of people around the harbor, busy with last minute prep. 541 commercial fishermen have renewed their S03E permits in order to fish the flats tomorrow. Some fishermen have already taken off, unable to quell the fishing itch any longer. Whether on the flats or holding down the fort in town, folks are eagerly awaiting the moment when the clock strikes 7 and the gillnets are launched in the water. Going into the season with a commercial harvest projection of 1.3 million sockeye, a season bigger than last year, has fishermen and fisherwomen hopeful and excited, but the anticipated 40 knot winds and 15 ft seas are daunting to say the least. Here in the office we are channeling good fishy vibes to those on the grounds and wish everyone a safe and prosperous season!

Good luck and great fishing, Cordova!  Hope you get “In ’em”!

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