SEATTLE - A big celebration was held Friday morning after 25,000 pounds of the celebrated Copper River salmon arrived in Seattle on an Alaska Airlines flight.
The fish were caught within the last 24 hours, and the first day of the season on Thursday yielded a catch of about a ton of fish.
Local distributors are hoping that means there will be a lot of sockeye and king salmon at local markets and restaurants.
In past years, the salmon has sold for $30 to $40 a pound the first few weeks of the season, because of smaller harvests.
Some distributors on Friday said they think the price per pound this week should be in the $15 to $25 range.
After the ceremonial King salmon was carried off the plane by the pilots, some local top chefs had a cook-off as part of the annual Copper River salmon celebration.
Jon Daniels with Seattle Fish Company said the full rivers help the fish move up the water for spawning, and since the season begins in May, the nice weather doesn't hurt.
“The weather is beautiful, it’s blue skies, there’s no wind, so they’ve got good fishing conditions. Now it’s just up to the fish to show up,” said Daniels.