Alaska Air Cargo

A royal toast to the fish we honor most! The salmon king arrives in Seattle

By Dianne McGinness | Photos by Ingrid Barrentine

A royal toast to the fish we honor most! The salmon king arrives in Seattle
Anchorage based Capt. Brent holds the 33 lb. prized first catch of the season.

Salmon lovers and seafood connoisseurs prepare your grills and lemon wedges for the king is here!

This morning, the first catch of prized Copper River salmon weighing in at 33 lbs. made a grand debut at Seattle Tacoma International Airport after being flown in style by Alaska Air Cargo nonstop from Cordova, Alaska.

For many, the arrival marks the official start of the summer salmon grilling season, which runs through September. The prized 33 lb. king was joined by an additional 9,000 lbs. of fresh salmon aboard one of our passenger flights that we operated as a freighter. This is the first of many shipments expected to arrive in Seattle, which will be transported throughout the continental United States during the fishing season.

“The arrival of the first Copper River salmon is very exciting because it means the start of summer and the salmon season for fisherman in Alaska,” said Larry T., ramp service agent – air freight. Alaska Air Cargo plays a critical role in the economic vitality of the region by helping fisheries get their salmon to market. In Cordova alone, more than half of its 2,200 residents are directly involved in fishing or related business and industry.

“Now more than ever, we provide a critical service that directly impacts the communities we serve,” said Torque Zubeck, MD, cargo. “Our cargo employees and employees in the state of Alaska work around the clock to help deliver wild Alaska Copper River salmon to market. We often accomplish this within 24 hours of the first fish being caught.”

Copper River salmon isn’t the only fresh seafood that will be flying Alaska this summer. Alaska Air Cargo also transports crab, halibut, sablefish (black cod), geoduck, spot prawns and other types of shellfish. Learn more about the seasons of Alaska seafood.

A royal toast to the fish we honor most! The salmon king arrives in Seattle

Instead of grilling the fish at our annual “Copper Chef Cook-off” this year, more than 200 healthcare workers at Swedish – Ballard were among the first to enjoy the season’s first catch as part of a special event.

As a thank you for their efforts on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19, Alaska, Trident Seafoods, Copper River Seafoods and Ocean Beauty Seafoods – the region’s three largest seafood processors – and famed Seattle chef Tom Douglas partnered to feed healthcare heroes and the community while raising money for Food Lifeline.

Douglas used salmon donated by the processors to prepare more than 200 signature dishes for Swedish Hospital medical professionals working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A royal toast to the fish we honor most! The salmon king arrives in Seattle
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