Copper River Sockeye Are Big and Abundant


Copper River Sockeye Are Big and Abundant

noticeably plumper and larger


Jun 25, 2012

Cordova, Alaska—Copper River sockeye salmon are arriving plump and in force for the Summer of 2012 season. To date, more than 1 million sockeye salmon have been harvested by the region’s commercial fishermen. An additional 654,000 are estimated to have escaped intot he Copper River past the sonar counting sites.

The most abundant of the Copper River species, sockeye salmon are harvested from May through July and are revered for their firm texture and bright red color.  High in Omega-3 fatty acids, Copper River sockeye generally measure about 25 inches in length and about 6 pounds each. This year, however, the Copper River sockeye are arriving in greater numbers and are noticeably plumper and larger. Growth cycles of the fish and favorable conditions are factors.

According to Jeremy Botz, Area Management Biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Cordova, “The sockeye from this year’s Copper River run are predominately from brood year 2007. Sockeye salmon typically spend from 2-4 years in the ocean. The dominate age class in this year’s run spent three years in the ocean. Average sockeye salmon weight in the Copper River District commercial fishery this year is larger than average. The size of the sockeye salmon and size of the run is likely a product of the favorable ocean conditions.  Higher water temperatures in 2009 likely translated to higher zooplankton abundance during the early ocean phase of the lifecycle for this brood year.”   

Zooplankton and other small aquatic invertebrates are a primary food source for juvenile salmon, providing protein and nutrition at critical growth stages. Abundant zooplankton improve survival rates for salmon and in this case, makes for larger, more robust adults.

“Everyone from fishermen and processors to retailers and chefs have been commenting on how big and beautiful this years’ sockeye run has been,” says Beth Poole, Executive Director of the Copper River/Prince William Sound Marketing Association. “Fishermen are doing their part to ensure top quality by bleeding and icing every fish and that is translating into some very happy customers. We’re looking forward to another whole month of the Copper River Sockeye season, as well as the Prince William Sound runs that are just starting to come online.”
Consumers can find where Copper River Salmon is being carried near them using the new locator app at

For more info contact: Beth Poole, Executive Director
Copper River/PWS Marketing Association
Box 199, Cordova, AK 99574: t: 907.424.3459 :: f: 907.424.3430