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Copper River Salmon

Commercial fishermen and seafood processors partner with the State of Alaska to purchase the latest sonar technology.

By Copper River / Prince William Sound Marketing Association

The addition of state of the art sonar was made possible by a one-time collaboration between the State of Alaska and the seafood industry. Between February and March 2018, Copper River and Prince William Sound commercial gillnet salmon fishermen and their buyers agreed to assist Alaska Department of Fish and Game in the purchase of the fourth ARIS sonar unit to be installed at the Miles Lake sonar station.

Copper River salmon fishermen pay a 1% marketing tax that funds a regional seafood development association (RSDA), the Copper River Prince William Sound Marketing Association (CR/PWSMA). The Association and its members contributed $75,000 to the purchase of the ARIS. Cordova District Fishermen United (CDFU), the fisherman’s advocacy organization for the Prince William Sound area, contributed $7000 to the purchase from the gillnet division of their membership. Salmon buyers in the Copper River District also contributed significant funds to the project; Copper River Seafoods, North Pacific, Ocean Beauty, Trident Seafoods each came to the purchase with $6375 while Alaska Wild Seafood contributed $2500. In all, Copper River fishermen contributed $82,000 to the purchase that will benefit all resource management, subsistence, sport and commercial.

Flying fish: Prized king salmon arrive to market by Boeing 737

Only about 18 hours earlier, that same Copper River king salmon started its journey from sea to Seattle in the coastal community of Cordova, Alaska -- about 1,300 miles north of Seattle. Accessible only by air or boat, the town is flanked by snow-capped peaks while the pristine waters of Prince William Sound lap at its feet.The town was originally settled in 1909 as a copper and oil shipping hub. These days, however, it's all about the fish.

"The mainstay of the whole economy is commercial fishing," Jerry McCune, President of the Cordova District Fishermen United union, says of the town's 2,000 year-round residents. "Everybody has some kind of tie."

Published by USA Today, 20th of May 2015