Alaska Symphony of Seafood is back, after a one-year hiatus necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with expanded competition featuring salmon and whitefish, and a new special award for Bristol Bay products.
The Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation, which has been organizing the event since 1994, also announced on Tuesday, Aug. 31, that the Symphony’s new major sponsor is the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association. The BBRSDA has committed to a three-year partnership with AFDF to help expand the reach of the competition, recognizing the value of diversified markets and innovative products are imperative to the ex-vessel value of the fishery.
In recent years, the Bristol Bay fleet has invested substantially in quality improvements, and it is paying off through increased quality at the point of harvest and subsequently increased quality throughout the supply chain, said Julie Decker, executive director of AFDF, in Wrangell.
There are five categories of competition in the 2021-22 event, including salmon, whitefish, retail, food service and “beyond the plate.”
Product entries, due by Oct. 4, may compete in all qualified categories and are eligible for multiple awards, such as retail and salmon or food service and whitefish. This year’s special awards include the grand prize, Seattle People’s Choice, Juneau People’s Choice and the Bristol Bay Choice.
The new categories will allow for more opportunity for promotion and recognition, including increased exposure for products out of Bristol Bay, where harvesters this year delivered over 40 million salmon to processors.
First-place winners from each category, plus the Bristol Bay Choice, will receive booth space at the Seafood Expo North America in Boston and entry into their national new product competition the Seafood Excellence awards, plus round-trip airfare to the show from Alaska Air Cargo, another major sponsor.
The Seattle Open House is set for the evening of Nov. 17 in Seattle at a time and place still to be determined. All entries will be prepared and displayed here by professional culinary staff and following the judging the open house will begin for all entrants, seafood industry invitees and sponsors. Alaska legislators and other special guests will be invited to the second gala and awards ceremony in Juneau in February, again at a time and date still to be determined.
Decker said that AFDF will continue to monitor the pandemic and provide updates to industry and partners on the 2021-22 competition and events.
Major sponsors of the event, in addition to Alaska Air Cargo and BBRSDA include the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, Lineage Logistics, Trident Seafoods, Marine Stewardship Council, Northwest Fisheries Association, At-Sea Processors Association and United Fishermen of Alaska.
More information on the Symphony, including sponsorship opportunities, is online at the AFDF website, www.afdf.org.