Copper River King Salmon Harvest Rises, Prices Drop

Harvests of the coveted Copper River king salmon have jumped to 17,215 fish, while the Copper River sockeye salmon catch is somewhat lagging behind forecasts at 721.622 reds.
That’s the calculation of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in its latest in-season harvest estimate of the total harvest to date in Prince William Sound.
The bulk of the catch has been in the Copper River drift gillnet fishery, where the harvest includes 17,130 kings, 719,337 reds, 247 silvers, 117 humpies and 9,273 chums. The Coghill drift gillnet fishery took 48 kings, 639 reds and 161,601 chums, while the Eschamy Main Bay drift gillnetters had 1,386 sockeyes, 2,180 chums and 15 kings. The Montague drift gillnet sector had 5,849 chums, plus just 15 reds and 18 kings. In the Prince William Sound Southwestern purse seine sector, the estimated harvest to date is 15,645 chums, 245 reds, 67 pinks and just 4 kings.
The overall Prince William Sound salmon harvest now stands at 17,215 Chinooks, 721,622 sockeyes, 249 silvers, 186 pinks and 194,548 chum salmon.
As the harvest increases, prices have predictably dropped.
The best deal in Southcentral Alaska is still $12.99 a pound for fresh fillets of Copper River reds at Costco stores in Anchorage, but store officials said they are not certain how much longer that supply will last. Seafood purveyor 10th & M and Fred Meyer supermarkets, both in Anchorage, had whole sockeyes on sale for $9.95 a pound and fillets for $14.95 a pound when available.

Online offerings included $34.99 a pound for king fillets at Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, plus $22.99 a pound for whole kings, $63.96 for whole reds and $23.99 a pound for sockeye fillets.