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Faces of Cordova: Mike Webber

From the ocean in the morning to the cargo plane in the afternoon, the salmon that Mike Webber catches are handled by only four people. Webber has dedicated his life to providing the world’s most coveted salmon to customers across the nation who value freshness, taste, and “ultra premium” quality. Although many hands make light work, fewer hands guarantee the integrity of the fish to its final destination. It may not be an easy living but Mike Webber, his family, and staff wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s not just their livelihood, it’s their passion.

Harvesting the Best

There’s something special about the salmon harvested off of Cordova’s shores. Webber explains that the fish start the long and strenuous spawning season in these waters, so they fatten up before the trip. The fish will not eat until they reach their destination 250 miles up the Copper River, so they rely on their fat reserves to power through. Catching them early and plump translates to better tasting meat when baked or grilled.

Webber goes one step further to lock in the rich flavor when the salmon are freshly caught. The crew bleeds the fish in a tank by pumping cold water through its arteries. “It’s a gentle process,” Webber assures. It’s not only humane but it prevents adrenaline and other toxins from releasing into the meat that adversely affects the flavor.

A Real Alaska Community

From delicate processing techniques to streamlined handling and shipping, Webber and his crew put in some long hours throughout the season. “It’s an unseen process but it makes a difference,” Webber says. The commercial fishing industry in Cordova consists entirely of family-owned businesses, like Webber Wild Seafood. They take great pride in the quality of the product. Each catch reflects generations of hardworking men and women committed to preserving resources while exceeding the market’s expectations.

“The community flourishes when fish are robust and healthy,” Webber explains. The town and the surrounding natural resources are inseparable. In Cordova, sustainability isn’t just a feel-good, marketing buzzword that gets stamped on packaging, it’s a way of life.

Cordova outdoor coolers are a tribute to commercial fishermen like Mike Webber and shares his dedication to quality, process, and stewardship. Whether it’s the end product or the drive that keeps a community thriving, what customers don’t see makes all the difference. Keep this in mind when considering premium products, especially those made and sourced in the USA. There is something truly different and special about what we do and how we do it.

The Golden Rule of Cooking Salmon

And if you are fortunate enough to acquire a fresh filet of Copper River salmon, please keep your recipe simple! Let the quality of the fish shine through. Mike Webber suggests pan-frying the Sockeye with some salt, pepper, and crushed fennel seed; maybe a touch more salt than usual. For the King salmon, bake it in the oven with a few grinds of salt and pepper. No crazy sauces, no intense cajun seasoning, just bare bones ingredients that respect the fish and maximize the rich flavor. 

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