ComFish Alaska in Kodiak, NPRB in Anchorage, at Work on Virtual 2020-2021 Conferences

Updates on federal and state legislation, mariculture, and cooperative research are onboard for day one of the 40th annual Comfish Alaska, going virtual for the first time in 40 years for health and safety reasons, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The second day agenda includes a look at nonfatal injuries and shipboard electrical safety.

The Kodiak Chamber of Commerce meanwhile is still working out details of a ComFish senatorial debate between incumbent Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, and challenger Dr. Al Gross, an orthopedic physician who worked his way through college and medical school as a commercial fisherman, an occupation he is still engaged in.

Among the panelists for the Sept. 17- Sept. 18 event is Ted Teske, a health communication specialist with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Western States Division. Teske has spoken for years at ComFish forums about nonfatal injuries and illnesses among Alaska fishermen and studies of gear, including personal flotation devices, to keep commercial harvesters safe at sea. Teske has worked for NIOSH, since 1999 developing safety interventions for the commercial fishing, mining, oil and gas and aviation industries. His research focuses on improving the process of bringing NIOSH research into practice.

Watch for updates on the Comfish Alaska agenda at

Another important marine conference, the Alaska Marine Science Symposium, is also going virtual, for the first time, in January 2021. At the helm is recently appointed executive director of the North Pacific Research Board Lynn Palensky, who has over 20 years of experience in collaborative, multi-agency and complex fish and wildlife conservation-related grant and mitigation programs in the Pacific Northwest.

From October 2000 through March 2020, Palensky was the fish and wildlife program development manager for NW Power and Conservation Council, in Portland, Oregon.

In past years the conference, organized by the NPRB in Anchorage, has attracted over 700 participants engaged in commercial fisheries and marine science to its four-day event in late January. The NPRB was created by Congress in 1997 and its board established in 2001, with funding for fisheries and marine ecosystems research in the North Pacific Ocean, Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean.

Check for updates on AMSS and information on registration at