Seafood marketing specialist Quentin Fong has a message for those seeking profits in this competitive industry: do your market research to find out what people are buying, and focus on a plan to make seafood a year-round business.
The energetic seafood trade and marketing specialist, who also has a background in commercial fishing, told participants in Kodiak’s annual ComFish forums this past week that they need to focus on salmon, but look at other things as well to make seafood more of a year-round business.
Fong, who is employed through the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program at the Fishery Industrial Technology Center in Kodiak, has brought this message, along with his market, business management and trade observations, to a number of communities involved in seafood marketing workshops.
Salmon, he noted is the economic engine of coastal Alaska communities.
Still, he said, Alaskans will always face competition from farmed fish, and aquaculture is here to stay. So while focusing on salmon, Alaskans need to look at other seafood products as well, he said.
In the Bristol Bay region, Copper River Seafoods is trying to expand the season beyond red salmon into pinks, which allows the company to use equipment it is invested in for a much longer period of time. Product forms also have diversified, with Alaska processors shipping pink salmon fillets to Hong Kong and Europe, and into value-added products.