Seattle: Alaska Air Cargo delivered the season's first shipment of Copper River salmon to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport last week.
The arrival of Copper River salmon marks the start of the summer salmon season and is anticipated by seafood lovers throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
Alaska Air Cargo's fish-filled freighter arrived early morning with Copper River king and sockeye salmon from three seafood processors: Ocean Beauty Seafoods, Trident Seafoods and Copper River Seafoods. Four more Alaska Airlines flights transported salmon from Cordova, AK, to Seattle and Anchorage, AK, and across the United States.
Alaska Airlines plays a significant role in supporting the Alaska seafood industry, which is recognized worldwide for its sustainable fishing practices. Last year, the carrier flew more than 25 million pounds of fresh Alaska seafood to the Lower 48 states and beyond, including nearly 700,000 pounds of Copper River salmon.
"Alaska Airlines flies more Copper River salmon throughout the season than any other airline," says Joe Sprague, Alaska's vice president of marketing. "With enhanced food quality procedures and additional flights to support the Alaska seafood industry, we are going the extra mile to deliver fresh seafood throughout the country."
Salmon shipped on Alaska Air Cargo will arrive as fresh as possible to grocery stores and restaurants across the nation thanks in part to a training program required of all airline employees who handle perishables. Alaska Air Cargo employees are required to adhere to strict seafood quality standards and pass an annual food quality course.
"The first Copper River salmon of the year is a celebrated rite of passage, and Alaska Airlines plays a critical role in delivering Alaska seafood across the Lower 48," says Beth Poole, Copper River Marketing Association's executive director. "The airline's 'cool chain' program helps ensure prized Copper River salmon stays as fresh as possible."
Seafood processors and shippers follow these cool chain standards to provide a temperature-controlled environment for proper food handling. The goal is to keep seafood moving rapidly throughout its journey on Alaska Airlines and maintain a consistent temperature range from the time it leaves the water to when it arrives at stores and restaurants.