Alaska Air Cargo delivers season’s first Copper River Salmon to Seattle

May 17, 2022; SeaTac, WA, USA; Alaska Airlines Air Cargo Copper River salmon celebration delivery at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Captain Kevin Yarbrough holds a 30lb Chinook. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-Alaska Airlines

A sign for many that summer has o-fish-cially begun! 

Straight from the frigid waters of the Copper River in Alaska, the first delivery of fresh salmon arrived today at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. 

Nearly 17,200 pounds of wild Alaska Copper River Salmon was flown by Alaska Air Cargo — the first of many shipments expected this season, which runs now through September. 

The celebratory “first fish,” sponsored this year by Copper River Seafoods, weighed in at 30 lbs. 

Greg McDole, Copper River Seafoods, with the celebratory first fish in Seattle.
Greg McDole and Jim Kostko, Copper River Seafoods.

Fast facts about Copper River Salmon: 

  • Copper River Salmon shipped on Alaska Air Cargo arrive as fresh as possible to grocery stores and restaurants across the nation, thanks in part to a cool chain training program required of all airline employees who handle perishables.  
  • Our employees follow strict seafood quality standards and pass an annual food quality course. The goal is to keep seafood moving rapidly throughout its journey on Alaska Airlines and maintain a consistent temperature range from the time it leaves the water to when it arrives at stores and restaurants. 
  • The Copper River Salmon season usually runs from mid-May through June.  
  • A Copper River Salmon can grow up to 50 pounds or more, according to the Copper River Marketing Association. 
  • Copper River salmon must travel 300 miles from the ocean, where they have spent their adult lives, through rugged terrain and icy waters to reach their spawning grounds, a journey that requires extra stores of energy in the form of fat, according to the Copper River Marketing Association. It is this fat that not only creates the exceptional flavor and texture of Copper River salmon, but also the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that make it so healthy to eat. 

Be sure to check out your local grocer or restaurants to get a taste of the excellent fish! 

Captain Kevin with his family after arriving safely in Seattle with the special shipment.