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Food Sunday: Copper River King Salmon Scrap Ceviche

7:01 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Making CR King Scrap Ceviche - #1

The third largest river in Alaska, the Copper, is currently the most famous worldwide for its salmon.  Bristol Bay, famous for the world’s largest run of Sockeye salmon, hosts salmon from several rivers, as they mill around, waiting for the right time to enter any of dozens of streams to their spawning grounds.

The Copper River Sockeye is the most highly sought fresh salmon in the United States.  The Copper River King is said to rival that of the Yukon King in flavor.  Less well-known than the Copper’s Reds, the Kings are noted for their extremely high oil content.

The Copper is fished all summer long, from mid-May into September.  Many of its tributaries’ runs come in at different time, making the commercial fishery, at its delta in the north Gulf of Alaska, durable.  Upstream, there are Native, subsistence, personal use and sports users.  Princess Lines passengers can opt out for a King fishing trip on one of the Copper’s tributaries.  Natives and subsistence users have fish wheels along the bank above the confluence of the Copper with the Chitina.  Urban and rural subsistence and personal use fishers also dip nets into the waters, bringing out their annual harvest.

Making CR King Scrap Ceviche - #2

The Copper is under increasing pressure from every direction, but the number of fish caught annually there over the past 40 years has stayed remarkably close to the same from decade to decade.  The first year I caught a salmon at the Copper River, was as a commercial gillnetter, in 1974.  The most recent ones were on Thursday, as a personal use dipnetter.

Making CR King Scrap Ceviche - #3

I brought  home my biggest King since the last century, 38 pounds.  One of the fillets will be eaten at my mom’s 93rd birthday party later this summer.

Making CR King Scrap Ceviche - #4

The other one got subdivided for a few meals.

Making CR King Scrap Ceviche - #5

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BP-Related Oil Spill Shuts Down Alaska Pipeline

11:47 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

British Petroleum is the senior partner in a consortium known as the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company. It oversees the Alaska oil pipeline from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. Tuesday a leak developed on a portion of the line that BP had kept from being inspected for years and years:

A power failure at a pump station along the trans-Alaska pipeline caused up to several thousand barrels of crude to spill into a containment area Tuesday morning. The station, which has failed before during maintenance operations, is located near Delta Junction, about a hundred miles south of Fairbanks.

The trans-Alaska pipeline is operated by Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., a consortium of five oil companies. BP, which is currently dealing with a huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, owns a majority interest of 47 percent.

Alyeska was planning a shutdown of the pipeline Tuesday to perform routine maintenance when the spill happened, said Tom DeRuyter, an on-scene coordinator for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. At Pump Station 9, oil began flowing from the pipeline back into tanks after a backup battery failed. With the power out, no one could tell how much oil was in the tank, he said. When the tank overflowed, oil spilled into a containment area surrounding the pump station.

Alyeska, which has mobilized responders from Delta Junction and Fairbanks, said in a statement that the valve is closed and the source of the spill oil is controlled. A DEC report said future plans include removing the spilled oil from a secondary containment, figuring out exactly what caused the spill, and getting oil flowing through the pipeline again.

Alyeska is "accepting full responsibility and is moving forward with the response effort," DeRuyter said.

As of 6:20 p.m. Tuesday, the 800-mile trans-Alaska pipeline, which carries 15 percent of U.S. domestic oil production, remained shut down. Officials were unsure when oil would start flowing again.

In Alaska, the dangers of this long pipeline leaking along the course of the Copper River, home of the most highly regarded Sockeye and King (Chinook) salmon fishery in the world, have long been recognized by the same people so grievously hurt by the Exxon Valdez catastrophe of 1989 – the Cordova fishing fleet.