The Ocean Beauty Seafoods team of Edwin Alejandro and Estella Valenzuela combined speed and quality to place first among seven processor teams in the 2015 ComFish seafood filleting contest at Kodiak this past weekend.
Quality of the fillets counted more than speed, as judges inspected the Pacific cod, Arrowtooth flounder and pollock fillets produced by challengers from Ocean Beauty, Alaska Pacific Seafoods, Global Seafoods, International Seafoods of Alaska, Trident’s Kodiak Pillar Mountain Seafoods, Pacific Seafoods, and Trident’s Star of Kodiak.
This was the second year of the lively competition, organized by Ocean Beauty’s Tony Olazabal, and sponsored also by The Kodiak chamber of Commerce and Alaska Groundfish Data Bank.
These filleters are an extremely important part of the community, Jeff Stephan of the United Fishermen’s Marketing Association told the crowd of onlookers. “The fish doesn’t get to the market unless you process it. It is very important to the social and economic structure of our community.”
“We could not have the third largest port in the nation without you,” said Julie Bonney, of Alaska Groundfish Data Bank, who shared master of ceremonies duties with Stephan.
Contest judges were Alex Oliveria of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, famed Kodiak caterer Joel Chenet, Chris Sannito of the Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center, and Jerry Babbit, who is retired from National Marine Fisheries Service.
The annual fishery forum and trade show event attracts several hundred fish harvesters and others in the industry who come to learn the latest information on state and federal fisheries regulations, advancements in safety at sea and educational opportunities in the industry. There were presentations from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health on staying alive at sea, and from the Coast Guard on new vessel safety compliance programs.
Speakers at ComFish 2015 also included Alaska Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten, Alaska Lt. Gov. Byron Mallot, and executive director Denby Lloyd of the North Pacific Research Board.