First shipment of Alaska’s coveted Copper River salmon to arrives in Seattle

SEATAC, Wash. — The first shipment of Alaska’s Copper River salmon arrived at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Tuesday morning, marking the start of the season.

The Alaska Air flight carrying 18,000 pounds of salmon arrived at the Alaska Air Cargo Warehouse at around 8:25 a.m.

The salmon is sought for its moistness and rich flavor due to the high fat and oil the fish store up ahead of their long and arduous journey up the rugged Copper River.

The annual spring tradition usually comes with much fanfare when the Boeing “Salmon-Thirty-Salmon” arrives from Cordova, Alaska. This year, it arrived in a standard cargo plane.

In years past, a red carpet was rolled out and Alaska Air pilots stepped out of the plane holding up a Copper River King in a triumphant moment, with applause from onlookers who gathered for the event.

This year, the first King salmon was unloaded from the plane wrapped in a Trident Seafoods box. Once the box was opened, the fish was displayed by a Trident Foods representative.

Seattle celebrity chef Tom Douglas attended the celebration, where he demonstrated what to look for in a salmon and showed where his favorite part of the fish is. He also explained how to cook it with just a few elements to let the salmon’s flavor shine through.

As in years past, Douglas will grill salmon and sell the meals to benefit the Ballard Food Bank.

The salmon will be delivered to grocery stores, fish markets, and restaurants across the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

In addition to its rich flavor, the salmon is also known for its notoriously high prices, especially for the King variety at the start of the season.

Pike Place Fish Market is pre-selling King filets for $79.99 a pound or Sockeye for $69.99 a pound. If you want to go the online route and have the fish shipped, you can pre-order two, eight-ounce portions of wild Copper River King salmon for $69 from Alaska’s Copper River Seafoods.

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