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'Return of the Reds' marks the start of a new salmon season

Jay Barrett/KDLL

  The smell of grilled salmon wafted across the dock of Pacific Star Seafoods on a warm and sunny lunchtime Tuesday.

The Alaska Salmon Alliance, a trade organization representing seafood processors on the Kenai Peninsula, provided the salmon feed as a benefit to the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank. They dubbed it the "Return of the Reds," and hope to make it an annual event.

Nate Berga, with the Alliance, said the cook-out came together quickly.

“You know it was was about a week ago and we started discussing this and just started picking up momentum pretty quick and we just ran with it,” he said. “So here we are today, helping the Food Bank, helping the local community come in and get some fresh salmon.”

Randi Smith is the donor relations specialist for the food bank.

“It's a wonderful thing to be invited by Alaska Salmon Alliance to partake in this little fish barbecue with the yummy first reds of the season,” she said, adding, “It’s amazing, very delicious.”

The fresh sockeye for the cook out came from the Big River setnet fishery on the West Side of Cook Inlet.

Speaking of the commercial fishery, Burga, who's daytime job is with Pacific Star Seafoods, is feeling pretty good about the sockeye run so far.

“You know, starting out, it’s early, but it’s looking pretty good,” he said. “So we’re optimistic, as always.”

Member processors of the Alaska Salmon Alliance were also on hand with fresh and prepackaged salmon products.

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