Are you ready for some really fatty, really delicious salmon at reasonable prices? Hold the Canadian Copper River king salmon. Get ready for Alaskan Yukon River king salmon.
"Copper River is insane," said Edna Crawford, whose company, Graham-based Boreal Fisheries, has bought and sold Yukon River salmon since 1974.
"We're jealous that we don't have the marketing campaign they have. Our fish has twice the oil content. But we come after Copper River. We still don't have the market awareness that Copper River does."
Crawford is currently in St. Mary's, Alaska, where Boreal has a processing facility 90 miles upriver. Crawford said fishing should start later this week, after Canadian escapement limits are met and Eskimos get their subsistence catches.
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About those Omega 3 oils Crawford mentioned: they're the good kind that have help fight heart disease, higher blood pressure, cancer and Alzheimer's.
"Our salmon is up to 34 percent oil, compared to Copper River, which is about 17 percent," Crawford crowed.
The Yukon River is almost 2,000 miles long. The Copper River is 300 miles.
"The longer the river, the richer the taste," Crawford said. "These fish that travel 2,000 miles, they have a fat layer on them that's about a quarter-inch thick. That's what they live on until they get to Canada to spawn."
Crawford said she didn't know what her wholesale price will be this year. Last year, she said, it was between $9 and $11 per pound. It'll probably be higher this year. The cost of everything is up.
"Tell people they shouldn't complain about their gas price," Crawford told me by telephone from Alaska last week. "I just got my gas price yesterday: $7.61 a gallon. Diesel is about $8 a gallon. Last year it was 4-something."
Tag on a 38 percent fuel charge to the cost of your next Yukon River filet.
"When I fly a pound of fish out, my cost is 25 cents a pound, plus 38 percent, plus 6.25 percent tax," Crawford said.