The Copper River sockeye salmon return is coming in far weaker than anticipated. It's still early, but Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Jeremy Botz in Cordova says the first two commercial fishery openings on the Copper River flats yielded a disappointing sockeye harvest.
"The level of the sockeye harvest in the first two period is historically low -- either the lowest, or one of the lowest first two periods on record.”
Botz says only 6,000 sockeye were caught, far below the anticipated 40,000, a low haul he says may be related to colder than normal weather, and a weak tide cycle. But the state cancelled a commercial opening that was scheduled for Thursday, and plans to announce today whether or not the next scheduled opening on Monday will occur. Botz says harvest of Copper River Chinook, a much smaller stock, was somewhat better in the first two commercial openings.