ComFish to Focus on Fishery Challenges

ComFish 2016, the annual conference set for March 31 through April 2 in Kodiak, Alaska, has an agenda packed with updates on the challenges of commercial fisheries. The annual gathering, which also includes a trade show, is sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce at Kodiak, which is ranked third among all the nation’s fishing ports for landings.
A panel discussion on the first day of ComFish will share its latest findings on the aging of the fleet research, declining access of Alaskans to commercial fishing in Alaska, and innovative ideas on how to reverse the trend.
Bob Foy, who heads the NOAA Fisheries Kodiak laboratory, will update ComFish participants during the second day of ComFish on potential affects of climate change and increased ocean acidification on crab stocks in the Bering Sea. Laboratory studies have suggested that crab will be negatively affected by ocean acidification.
Gunnar Knapp, director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of Alaska in Anchorage, is also on the April 1 agenda with an update on salmon markets and the state’s fiscal challenges. As an economics professor with ISER, Knapp has been tracking salmon markets for a number of years, and also recently addressed the Alaska Legislature on the fiscal crisis facing the state.
Other presentations will address the causes of declines in size-at-age of Pacific halibut, and he variability in walleye pollock reproductive potential and its implications on fishery management, both led by faculty at the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.
Ocean Beauty Seafoods is once again organizing the popular processor competition in fish filleting and trimming, with contestants from each of Kodiak’s seven shoreside processors. Competitors are rated on the speed, form and quality of their filleting. The winners of the fillet and trimming competition will receive a round trip ticket to Anchorage.

Kodiak harvesters meanwhile will get to compete in the first annual Fishermen’s Showcase, by demonstrating what it takes to be successful at various skills needed to make their work successful.