More than 200 Seattle-area hospital workers on Friday morning will be among the first to enjoy the season’s first catch of prized Copper River salmon after it arrives from Cordova, Alaska.

Seattle chef Tom Douglas, a regular celebrity at the annual Copper River salmon events, will join Trident Seafoods, Ocean Beauty, Alaska Airlines and the Copper River Marketing Association to supply 200 signature dishes to Swedish Hospital medical professionals in the city's Ballard neighborhood, who are working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday thousands of the season’s first Copper River salmon will arrive in the Seattle via an Alaska Air Cargo airplane -- though not the traditional "Salmon Thirty Salmon" plane this season.

Alaska Airlines pilots and flight attendants will be on-hand Saturday to deliver the meals to the workers as well.

Organizers are trying to include Copper River fans in the process via Chef Tom Douglas, who is grilling six-ounce sockeye salmon dishes on Sunday as part of a separate event where consumers can pre-order the fish on his website.

All of the proceeds from orders will be donated to Food Lifeline.

The Copper River District opened Thursday at 7:00 am for a 12-hour commercial gillnet fishing period.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) in January projected a sharp decline in the catch of Copper River sockeye this year.

The state fisheries regulators forecast a total harvest of Copper River sockeye of 970,000 fish, down 23 percent from the 2019 overall harvest, and 25 percent below the 10-year average.

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