With recent culinary trends pointing to a heightened interest in domestic seafood sources, it’s worth noting that Alaska’s pristine Prince William Sound, home to more than 570 drift and set gillnet permit holders, is one of our country’s premier yet best kept secrets when it comes seafood resources.
The Sound, which sits west of the Copper River Delta in the Gulf of Alaska, is a protected water system that boasts a complex coastline, glacier-hewn fjords, rain forest-blanketed islands, and an array of marine life. Each year, the region boasts an annual harvest of more than 70 million fish with fishermen catching all five species of pacific salmon. From pink and keta to king, sockeye and coho, the region provides a sustainable wild Alaska seafood that features numerous flavor profiles and offers a variety of price points for consumers.
The Prince William Sound sockeye and keta harvest is in full swing right now and the region’s independent all-American fishermen are working diligently to harvest and handle it according to the highest standards. Jeremy Botz, the Gillnet Area Management Biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, recently reported that the sockeye quality has been good and that the price has remained competitive for that species.
Regarding the Prince William Sound keta run, Botz recently reported that the quality of the keta appears to be very good and the fishermen have been granted a 5-7 day a week fishing schedule for that species, which ensures that fresh high quality keta are being caught consistently and that the fish is moving into the marketplace at a rapid pace. Harvested by both seine and gillnet methods depending on the district, keta is a desirable and affordable domestic wild salmon option for savvy health conscious cooks. Its price point remains competitive and the milder flavor of the fish makes it versatile and appealing to children or those who aren’t always keen on eating salmon. Naturally rich in Omega 3s, Prince William Sound keta average about eight pounds each and are equally as delicious grilled as they are baked, sautéed, or sauced.
Nelly Hand, the Executive Director of the Copper River/Prince William Sound Marketing Association, is pleased to see high-quality domestic salmon heading out to market. She says, “Here at the Association we are committed to promoting all species of salmon from both the Copper River and Prince William Sound. Our family fishermen have recently made great strides in quality and handling of the Prince William Sound sockeye and keta and we are pleased to be bringing high quality affordable Alaska salmon into the marketplace. Consumers are hunting for more domestic seafood and we are proud to be filling that need.”
Mike Webber, a longtime Alaska fisherman who fishes regularly in Prince William Sound says, “From the fisherman’s point of view, Prince William Sound is a very sustainable fishery because we can count on fish coming back every year for the fishermen and for the consumers.”
For additional information, contact Nelly Hand, Executive Director
Copper River/PWS Marketing Association
Box 199, Cordova, AK 99574