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Alaska's Copper River Salmon Season Begins in Cordova

May 17, 2012|By Jason Lamb | Channel 2 News

CORDOVA, Alaska — Alaska Copper River salmon have begun their long journey from the ocean to dinner plates across the country, as commercial fishermen were allowed to begin casting nets for the fish Thursday morning.

Fishermen in Cordova hope to cash in on the prized salmon, known for its superiority in the culinary world.

Processing plants will get a better idea of the size of Thursday's catch, permitted during a 12-hour period, once ships begin returning later Thursday night. Channel 2 spoke with many fishermen on the water during the opener, however, who said they weren't getting much of a haul.

"It’s been kind of slow, but from what I’ve heard it might be slow all over," said Lyle Kritchen, a 39-year veteran fisherman. "I’m sure they’re catching some fish somewhere."

Reports of a slow start are disappointing to a lot of fishermen who count on days like this year's opener to help dig them out of debt from the last few months.

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"I'm broke, and we're trying to make a little bit of money," Kritchen joked, while bringing in a large net that had caught about 20 salmon.

Kritchen had heard someone on their radio quote the price to fishermen of king salmon at $6.50 per pound.

Despite the struggle to make a profit, the fishermen in Cordova say they'll gladly keep doing the job: a lot of them have family history.

"It’s pretty important," said Donald Kritchen, Lyle's son and fellow fisherman. "My grandfather moved up from California, I don’t even know how long ago, and everybody’s been fishing in the family since then."

The salmon caught Thursday will be processed in Cordova later that night, and then will be shipped to Seattle at 2 a.m. Friday.

Also on Friday the Bridge Seafood restaurant in Anchorage, at 221 W. Ship Creek Ave., will be serving some of the just-caught salmon for dinner. The restaurant is open seven days a week from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. during summer, from mid-May to mid-September.

Watch Jason Lamb report from Cordova on Channel 2 News tonight on the 5:00 Report, Newshour and Late Edition.

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