State’s largest fisheries forum finalizes schedule

Topics range from seafood marketing opportunities to crab research

ComFish Alaska, the state’s longest-running fisheries forum and trade show, has finalized interactive forum events for the 2021 virtual gathering March 30-31, on topics ranging from federal and state legislation to electronic monitoring and crab research.

“This is no regular Zoom meeting,” said organizers at the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce. “It’s the closest to an in-person, fully functional event we can get.”

Spaces for the event’s virtual trade show were also filling up, but some room was still available as of Monday, March 15.

The forums open at 10 a.m. on March 30 with a federal update from Alaska’s congressional delegation, followed by an Alaska legislative update presented by Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak.

The afternoon agenda begins with a presentation on seafood market updates and opportunities by Arianna Eines of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute and Dan Lesh, head of market research for McKinley Research.

Presenters for the afternoon’s state update on Alaska fisheries will be Fish and Game Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang, Deputy Commissioner Rachel Baker and John Moller, a policy advisor to Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

The final forum of the day focuses on permanent protections for Bristol Bay fisheries, with Andy Wink, executive director of Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association; Lindsey Layland, deputy director of United Tribes of Bristol Bay; and Katherine Carscallen, executive director of Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay.

Rep. Jared Huffman, R-Calif., chair of the House Water, Oceans and Wildlife Subcommittee, leads off the second day of forums, with a discussion on his efforts to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the principal law governing marine fisheries in the United States.

An update on crab research on Kodiak’s Near Island will be led by Bob Foy, science and research director of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Juneau, and Mike Litzow, program manager at the Kodiak lab and shellfish assessment program manager.

The discussion on western region herring and salmon fisheries management will be led by fisheries biologists Kevin Schaberg and Jeff Wadle, both of the Kodiak office of ADF&G.

Josh Keaton, a natural resource management specialist with the NOAA Fisheries Alaska region,

will lead a forum on development of electronic monitoring for pelagic trawl vessels in the North Pacific Ocean.

The second day of forums will conclude with presentations on Alaska Sea Grant initiatives and Alaska Fisheries Science Center stock plan assessments.

Free registration for ComFish will remain open online at cdv.tiny.us/comfish through the start of the event.

Sponsors of ComFish 2021 include Alaska Airlines, Kodiak Best Western, KVOK radio, Alaska Aerospace Corp. Matson, the Kodiak Chamber and many other supporters in Kodiak and seafood-related entities.