Bill Bailey, one of the founders of Copper River Seafoods, celebrates with other Copper River Seafoods fans after Copper River Seafoods won first place in retail competition, the Anchorage People’s Choice award, and the grand prize at the 2013 Symphony of Seafood gala in Anchorage. File photo by Margaret Bauman.

Competition for the best new commercial-ready, value-added Alaska seafood products is now open for the 2023 Alaska Symphony of Seafood, with first place winners in each category to receive booth space at the 2023 Seafood Expo North America in Boston, plus round-trip airfare.

This year the Symphony, organized annually by the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation, will offer six separate special awards: the grand prize, salmon, whitefish, Seattle People’s Choice, Juneau People’s Choice and the Bristol Bay Choice, plus competition in the retail, food service and Beyond the Plate categories, the last for non-food products made with Alaska seafood as an ingredient.

The Bristol Bay Choice was first awarded in 2022 for Wild Caught Bristol Bay Alaska Sockeye Salmon, a product of Alaskan Leader Seafoods, to raise awareness of high-quality products from Bristol Bay.

Entry forms are online at https://www.afdf.org/wp-content/uploads/2023ASOS_CallForProducts.pdf.

The deadline for entries is Oct. 21.

Previous winners, including Ocean Beauty Seafoods, which has facilities in Cordova, have leveraged Symphony connections to boost their sales and market exposure of their products.

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In 2021 competition, Ocean Beauty Seafoods’ Echo Falls Wild Alaska Sockeye Salmon Tapas Slices won first place in retail and salmon competition and was a finalist in the Seafood Excellence Awards during Seafood Expo North America.

The first of the 2023 events will be held on Nov. 16 at the Seattle Open House, co-hosted by Northwest Fisheries Association, at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle. Following judging, guests at the open house, including seafood industry invitees and sponsors, will get to sample entries and vote in the Seattle People’s Choice competition. The awards ceremony will be held on Feb. 23 during the Juneau Open House, co-hosted by United Fishermen of Alaska, with guests including members of the Alaska Legislature getting to vote on the Juneau People’s Choice and sample entries.

AFDF’s Symphony competition, which dates back to 1994, is all funded by the seafood industry and its supporters. A complete list of sponsors for the 2021 event is online at https://www.afdf.org/wp-content/uploads/ASOS20-Sponsor-Poster-FINAL.pdf.

AFDF is still seeking sponsors for the 2023 event. Information on how to become a sponsor is online at the AFDF website: https://afdf.org.

Major sponsors of the 2021 competition included Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, Lineage Logistics, Trident Seafoods, Marine Stewardship Council, Northwest Fisheries Association, Alaska Air Cargo, At-Sea Processors Association and the United Fishermen of Alaska.

The mission of AFDF, founded in 1978, is to identify opportunities in the Alaska seafood industry and to develop efficient, sustainable outcomes that provide benefits to the economy, environment and communities. Past Symphony winners have ranged from freezer and microwave wild Alaska seafood entrees to barbeque sauce, pet treats, salmon leather products, and kelp.