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Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Copper River location map

Commercial Fisheries Overview
Copper River Management Area

The Copper River and Bering River districts are located on the Gulf of Alaska east of Prince William Sound. Covering over 1,100 square miles, the Copper River District is the largest district in Prince William Sound. By contrast, Bering River District is approximately one-sixth the size with an open area greater than 200 square miles. The Copper River drains over 27,000 square miles of interior Alaska while the Bering River has a drainage of only a few hundred square miles. Together, these systems provide spawning and rearing habitat for all five species of Pacific salmon. Sockeye, coho and Chinook salmon runs are harvested by about 500 drift gillnet commercial permit holders and managed by the local Alaska Department of Fish and Game office in Cordova. The sockeye and Chinook salmon runs that have been commercially fished since the late 1800s are among the earliest and most prized in the state. Helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft take fish from the first openings in mid-May directly from the fishing grounds to the Cordova airport for immediate delivery to Seattle and other major markets where red carpets, chefs and salmon connoisseurs await.

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