Alaska Symphony of Seafood Expands Competition

Bullwhip Hot Sauce
Bullwhip Hot Sauce, by Barnacle Foods, was a triple winner in the 2020 Symphony competition, capturing first place in retail the Juneau People’s Choice and the grand prize. Photo courtesy of the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation.

Expansion features are on tap for the 2021-22 Alaska Symphony of Seafood event, with salmon and whitefish product categories, in addition to retail, food service and beyond the plate.

The annual competition, which began in 1994, was on hiatus in 2020 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic but is coming back in person under current health and safety guidelines, said Julie Decker, executive director of the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation.

Product entries may be entered in all qualified categories and are eligible for multiple awards. The deadline for entries is Oct. 4.

Special awards for this year’s competition include the grand prize, Seattle People’s Choice, Juneau People’s Choice and the new Bristol Bay Choice, sponsored by the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, the Symphony’s new major sponsor.

First place winners in 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 airfare to and from the show provided by Alaska Air Cargo another major Symphony sponsor.

AFDF also announced back on Aug. 31 that the Bristol Bay Regional Development Association has committed to a three-year partnership with AFDF to help expand the reach of the Symphony, in recognition of the value of the event in diversified markets and innovative products imperative to the ex-vessel value of the fishery.

The Bristol Bay fleet’s investment in quality improvements is paying off in the higher-quality value-added products, truly something to promote and celebrate, Decker said.

The seafood industry has invested heavily in quality improvements, both during harvesting and processing, increasing the capacity to create new products, Decker said.  As a result of these investments, the quality and sophistication of new products has reached a new level, she explained.

The event’s Seattle Open House, following judging, is scheduled for Nov. 17, at a time and location still to be announced. The awards ceremony is set for Juneau in February, with special guests including members of the Alaska Legislature.

Major sponsors for the 2021-22 competition, in addition to Alaska Air Cargo and the BBRSDA, are the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, Lineage Logistics, Trident Seafoods Marine Stewardship Council, Northwest Fisheries Association, At-Sea Processors Association and United Fishermen of Alaska.

Updates on the Symphony events in Seattle and Juneau can be found at