Organizers of the annual Alaska Symphony of Seafood, which encourages investment in product development of wild Alaska seafood, have cancelled the rescheduled Symphony events planned for this spring due to ongoing health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Officials with the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation said that before making the decision they polled industry partners and participants, and the results were clear that COVID-19 has hindered the industry’s ability to produce new value-added products or to participate in large events. Without healthy participation by industry, the benefits of an in-person or virtual event are limited, AFDF said.
Additionally, event producer Diversified Communications recently announced the cancellation of the 2021 Seafood Expo North America (SENA) which had been rescheduled for July 11-13 in Boston. SENA is the major event at which AFDF promotes the winning Symphony products.
Now AFDF plans to resume its call for product in August for the resumption of the Symphony competition next year. AFDF officials said they will continue to feature Symphony winners at the Boston seafood event, including entrance in the Seafood Excellence Awards, when SENA resumes in March 2022.
AFDF plans to continue to monitor the pandemic and provide updates to the seafood industry and partners for the 2021-2022 competition. In addition, AFDF will explore opportunities throughout this year to promote past Symphony winners.
Annual Symphony competition has attracted an array of entries from throughout the United States in categories ranging from food service and smoked product to pet treats. Along with first, second and third place winners in each category and a grand prize winner, ADFG has in past years sponsored galas in Anchorage, Juneau and Seattle where participants vote on a “People’s Choice” award for the product entry they feel is the best. The grand prize winner, other first place winners and companies to win the “People’s Choice” honors all get airfare and booth space at the Boston seafood show to hawk their winning product and take orders.