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Much-hyped Copper River Salmon arrives in Seattle

One thing everyone can agree on, is the people in Cordova, Alaska, have done a great job in pumping up Copper River Salmon. (AP Photo/File)

The first Copper River Salmon of the year arrived at Sea-Tac Airport Friday, and the rush is on to get it to your favorite restaurant and fish market. But is this all just hype?

Some critics claim Copper River Salmon isn’t even the best-tasting fish to come out of the same region of Alaska. They claim the average person can’t really tell the difference.

One thing everyone can agree on, is the people in Cordova, Alaska, have done a great job in pumping up their local catch.

Elizabeth Stearns is a marketing and advertising professor at the University of Washington. “The job of public relations in the Northwest is reminder,” she said. “Even though we all want it, we all like it and we all think it’s wonderful, it’s helpful to have a little reminder.”

Stearns said what also helps the Copper River Salmon pitch is that it’s only available for a short time, and it is a really good product. “I don’t know if it’s brilliant,” she said. “I think it’s just an excellent use of the marketing tools that are available. It starts with the core, which is a very quality product.”

But whether you believe this Copper River Salmon thing is all hype or not, if you want it, it’s going to cost you. It could go for as high as $50 a pound.

Chef Thierry Rautureau, who co-hosts KIRO Radio’s Seattle’s Kitchen, believes it’s worth it. “Copper River is a special salmon and as a consumer you don’t get a good chance to try it,” he said. “If you can put your hands on it, go for it. It’s worth it.”

Celebrity chef Tom Douglas agrees, but he said you don’t have to shell-out $50 a pound for the king salmon. He suggests trying the cheaper but still tasty sockeye. “The sockeye is a beautiful fish,” he said. “It’s usually about one-third to one-half the price of the king, and it’s a great choice if you’re cooking more on a budget.”

About the Author

Chris Sullivan

Chris Sullivan is a traffic reporter for KIRO Radio 97.3 FM. He cares deeply about the amount of time you spend sitting in Seattle traffic. Email Chris at


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