Copper River salmon fishery opens

Posted: Thursday, May 17, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The Copper River salmon fishery began Thursday, with more than 500 boats vying for the first salmon of the season.

The Copper River fishery sparks a marketing frenzy in restaurants and supermarkets in the Lower 48. In past years, Seattle supermarkets have used helicopters and jets to get bragging rights to the first fish. This year the supermarkets have teamed up to rush red and king salmon to Seattle.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is forecasting a weak commercial harvest of about 640,000 reds. That would be the weakest commercial Copper River harvest since 1988.

The king salmon catch is forecast to rise to more than 48,000 fish from 31,000 last year.

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