Copper River Salmon Opener Brings Record Prices

Harvests for the celebrated Copper River salmon fishery were slow to rise, but the price to harvesters took a leap when New Peter Pan Seafood offered a record high $12.60 a pound for sockeyes and $19.60 a pound for Chinooks.

“Peter Pan used to have a solid fleet in the flats,” said John Hickman, the company’s vice president of operations. “We want people to know we are back.”

Peter Pan said it has the ability on this highly coveted early Copper River fish to offer these prices because of the company’s deep market penetration and value-added philosophy into niche markets when limited supply of the resource is made available. Whole, individually wrapped Copper River reds were on sale at Costco stores in Anchorage for $19.99 a pound. Pike Place Fish Market online prices were $79.98 a pound for Copper River king fillets and $55.99 a pound for Copper River sockeye fillets. Pike Place was also offering whole 10-pound Copper River kings for $599.99 and whole four-pound Copper River sockeyes for $139.99.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists estimated the third opener on Mon., May 24 brought in an estimated 448 deliveries, including 32,727 red salmon averaging 5.11 pounds and 1,960 kings averaging 12.59 pounds, plus 2,006 chum averaging 6.24 pounds.

During the second opener on Thurs., May 20 there were an estimated 322 deliveries, including 11,873 reds averaging 5.13 pounds, 1,160 kings averaging 13.02 pounds and 318 chum averaging 6.24 pounds.

The first opener on Mon., May 17 included an estimated 419 deliveries, including 6,159 red salmon averaging 5.15 pounds and 2,068 kings weighing in on average at 12.09 pounds, plus 184 chum averaging 6.67 pounds.