LISTEN: Cordova mayor says salmon season can still be safe amid pandemic, but it’ll likely be different

Cordova Mayor Clay Koplin stands at the end of the ramp onto the Alaska ferry Aurora at his town’s dock Monday, September 9, 2019. (Photo by Nat Herz / Alaska Public Media)

Some Alaska fishing communities are conflicted about the idea of an influx of out-of-town commercial fishermen and processing plant workers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

That includes the Prince William Sound city of Cordova, home to the famous Copper River sockeye gillnet fishery, usually the first salmon fishery to kick off in the state. Hundreds of Cordova residents have signed a petition asking Mayor Clay Koplin to restrict most travel to the community.

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Cordova’s economy is almost entirely dependent on the salmon fishery, and Koplin told Alaska Public Media’s Casey Grove that the plans he’s seen from processors indicate the season can still happen safely, though it’ll likely be different from past years.

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