ASMI marks 4 decades of marketing Alaska seafood

All-Hands-On-Deck is back again as a virtual interactive conference Nov. 9-11

Commercial fishermen, processors, biologists and others engaged in Alaska’s multi-million-dollar seafood industry will gather virtually Nov. 9-11 for the All-Hands-On-Deck conference, to review the challenges and triumphs of 2021 and plan for the coming year of marketing Alaska seafood worldwide.

The event, usually held in person at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, will be held virtually once again because of the global novel coronavirus pandemic.

This being its 40th anniversary year, ASMI will also celebrate in the coming weeks with other events, including interviews with some of the entity’s former leaders and the sharing of a curated collection of its best recipes for the state’s iconic seafood species

The entire interactive event will be recorded and made available after the meeting on the ASMI website at www.alaskaseafood.org, as are the 2018-2020 conferences, including a Zoom webinar attendee tutorial on how to navigate the conference website and participate.  As speakers make their presentations, participants may submit typed questions for speakers.

Over 250 attendees participated in the 2020 virtual conference.

Staples of the All-Hands-on Deck are the general session, plus reports on ASMI’s international marketing program, domestic marketing program, seafood technical program, global food aid program, communications program and the RFM, or Responsible Fisheries Management, certification program.

There are also individual reports from ASMI’s halibut-sablefish, salmon, shellfish and whitefish committees and a cooking demonstration.

The usual format includes a day of welcoming and orientation, with a presentation from ASMI’s executive director and a market outlook presentation by a fisheries economist.  The second day is generally devoted to presentations by species committees, and the third day by committees engaged in international and domestic marketing, sustainable fisheries, food aid, seafood technology and more.

The ASMI board generally meets on the fourth day to set strategic priorities for the coming year.

Last year proved a particularly challenging and costly one for the seafood industry as it grappled with how to harvest and process the catch in the throes of a pandemic in a manner that kept harvesters, processors and the communities they worked in safe.  While the same efforts were in place for the 2021 season, the industry had the benefit of planning ahead, based on their successes and failures in 2020, and the availability of COVID-19 vaccines.

All-Hands-On-Deck is hosted by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, a public-private partnership between the state of Alaska and the Alaska seafood industry, established 40 years ago to foster economic development of the state’s renewable natural resource in the competitive, market-driven food industry.  ASMI was established by state statute in 1981 to ensure that Alaska’s sustainable wild seafood retained its competitive advantage in the global marketplace. It’s seven-member board current is led by Jack Schultheis, chair of Kwik’Pak Fisheries; with Allen Kimball, vice-chair of Trident Seafoods; Mark Palmer, of Ocean Beauty Seafoods; harvester Tomi Marsh; Michael Erickson, Alaska Glacier Seafoods; harvester Alf “Gus” Skaflestad; and Richard Riggs, Silver Bay Seafoods.

Ex-officio members are Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer, state senators Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna; Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak; and Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel; and state representatives Chris Tuck and Geran Tarr, both D-Anchorage; and Julie Anderson, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development.