ComFish 2018 Schedule

This year we have lined-up a variety of forums on topics that are especially relevant to the fishing industry in 2018. These will include climate change, fisheries forecasts, and new research. We are also collaborating with community partners to offer fun and informative events. Click below to explore the schedule for ComFish 2018 or click here to view a printable schedule.

  • Wednesday, March 21st

    4pm-6pm Fish Taco Night
    Sponsored by: Alaska Marine Conservation Council, Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, Kodiak Jig Seafoods 
    Location: Kodiak Island Brewery
    Stop by to celebrate our fishing community and enjoy rockfish tacos. Your tacos are prepared in authentic fashion by the Association of Latin Women in Alaska with fish harvested by a local jig fisherman. The event is cosponsored by the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, and Kodiak Jig Seafoods. Proceeds will benefit the Thelma C. Project of the Kodiak Maritime Museum. Suggested donation: $5.00

  • Thursday, March 22nd

    10am-5pm ComFish Trade Show Open to the Public
    Location: Kodiak Harbor Convention Center

    10am-10:45am Alaska Seafood Market Update
    Presented by: Jeremy Woodrow, Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute & Garrett Evridge Mcdowell Group
    Location: Best Western Kodiak Inn, Harbor Room
    ASMI & McDowell Group have teamed up to share Alaska seafood’s current state in the global marketplace. Learn about where your catch is going, the value at home and abroad, and how global economics create challenges and opportunities for Alaska seafood.

    11:45am-12:30pm Office of the Governor Update 
    Presented By: Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott
    Location: Best Western Kodiak Inn, Harbor Room

    12:30pm-1pm Alaska Fisheries in the Global Warming Present
    Presented by: Mike Litzow, UAF Dept. of Fisheries, Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center
    Location: Best Western Kodiak Inn, Harbor Room
    Our best understanding is that the 2014-2016 Alaskan marine heatwave could not have happened without human-caused global warming. The 2016 pink salmon failure and the ongoing gray cod collapse are therefore events that are unlikely to have happened without human changes to the climate. This talk will review some of the implications for Alaska fisheries of increasing resource volatility under global warming, and ways that fishing communities might respond and adapt.

    1pm – 1:45pm The Gulf of Alaska’s Endless Summer: how the ecosystem rode the marine heat wave of 2014-2016
    Presented by: Stephani Zador, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA
    Location: Best Western Kodiak Inn, Harbor Room
    The Gulf of Alaska experienced unprecedented warming beginning in early 2014 with the appearance of “The Blob”, through the return to largely average water temperatures in 2017. During those years, NOAA compiled observations and monitored indicators of all aspects of the marine ecosystem—from oceanography to fish, marine mammals, and humans—to provide annual ecosystem status updates to the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council. In this talk, I will review the environmental changes we observed; how these may be linked to changes in ecosystem productivity, unusual sightings, and seabird and whale die-offs; and provide ecosystem context for the cod decline. I will also review what we know about the current state of the ecosystem and what we think may lie ahead.

    1:45pm-2:30pm Impacts of the endless summer (2014-2016) on Gulf of Alaska Pacific cod and management response
    Presented by: Steven J. Barbeaux,  Alaska Fisheries Science Center
    Location: Best Western Kodiak Inn, Harbor Room
    The Pacific cod stock has supported a $103 million dollar a year fishery, 29% of the total groundfish harvest in the GOA. In 2018 there was an 80% reduction in the allowable biological catch for this stock in consideration of a relatively sudden decline in its abundance in the fishery and surveys. This decline occurred during an unprecedented warming event in the eastern North Pacific in 2014-2016 noteworthy in its geographical extent, depth range, and persistence, and with evidence of shifts in species distribution and reduced productivity of lower-trophic and upper-trophic organisms. Ecosystem indicators and bioenergetics models suggested the decline in Pacific cod can be explained by an increase in metabolic demand during this “endless summer” and a reduced prey supply. Although increased mortality likely led to the decline in the current fishable population, historically low recruitment concurrent with the heat wave portends a slow recovery for the stock. This talk will address why Pacific cod were affected in particular, how management has responded, and a look into the future for Gulf of Alaska Pacific cod stock.

    2:30pm-3:15pm 2018 KMA Salmon Outlook
    Presented By: James Jackson and Birch Foster, Alaska Department of Fish & Game
    Location: Best Western Kodiak Inn, Harbor Room
    A brief description of the 2018 Kodiak Management Area commercial salmon forecast, and management implications.

    3:15pm-4pm ADF&G Update
    Presented by:Trent Hartill, Federal Fisheries Coordinator for Alaska Department of Fish & Game
    Location: Best Western Kodiak Inn, Harbor Room
    A discussion of upcoming and ongoing North Pacific Fishery Management Council actions, updates on pink salmon and Pacific cod disaster declarations, and status of the ADF&G budget.

    4pm-6pm Exhibitor Reception
    Sponsored by: Trident Seafoods, APL, and Samson Tug & Barge
    Location: Kodiak Harbor Convention Center

    Come and sample some of Trident Seafoods ready to eat seafood products with beer hosted by Samson and wine hosted by APL.


  • Friday, March 23rd

    10am-5pm ComFish Trade Show Open to the Public
    Location: Kodiak Harbor Convention Center

    10am-10:30am U.S. Pacific Command & U.S. Pacific Fleet - Exercise Northern Edge 2019
    Presented by: Rear Admiral Gary Mayes, Commander Navy Region Northwest and Mr. John Mosher, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
    Location: Best Western Kodiak Inn, Harbor Room
    The next Northern Edge exercise will be conducted in Alaska in 2019 with the maritime portion of the exercise being conducted in the Gulf of Alaska.  Presenters will provide a Navy brief, an overview of the exercise, its goals and the activities that will be conducted, as well as the environmental analysis and protective mitigation measures that have been developed for Navy training in the Gulf of Alaska.

    10:30am -10:55am Alaska's Myth of Rigorous Permitting
    Presented by: Bob Shavelson, Cook Inlet Keeper
    Location: Best Western Kodiak Inn, Harbor Room
    We often hear about Alaska's world-class fisheries management regime. But when it comes to water, wetlands and habitat permitting, we're repeating the very same mistakes that lead to the demise of wild salmon runs in the Lower 48.  This presentation will look at the permitting tools behind fish habitat protection in Alaska, and discuss why these tools fall short in our efforts to promote sustainable fisheries across the state.

    10:55am-11:15am Updating Alaska's Fish Habitat Permitting Law
    Presented by: Melanie Brown and Sommers Cole, Salmon State/Stand For Salmon
    Location: Best Western Kodiak Inn, Harbor Room

    Alaska's fish habitat permitting law has not been revisited since Statehood lacks definition, leaving the statute open for interpretation. Proposed changes to the law are being pursued in two ways and the idea has been supported by Alaskan's via the legislative and ballot initiative track. Come see where this effort is at since legislation was introduced roughly one year ago. 

    11:30am-12pm Don’t Stand There, Or There, Or There: A Review of On-Deck Fatalities on Commercial Fishing Vessels
    Presented by: Ted Teske and Tristan Victoroff, NIOSH Western States Division
    Location: Best Western Kodiak Inn, Harbor Room
    On-deck fatalities are a leading cause of death among commercial fishermen. These can be the result of gear entanglements, falls, and other health hazards like asphyxiation. This presentation will discuss the latest results of NIOSH data analysis into the causes of fatalities that happen on-deck and discuss various methods of reducing the hazards. Discussion will include use of technologies such as emergency stop systems and guards, as well as personal protective equipment, and training. We will also discuss a new NIOSH research project to increase adoption of deck safety technologies.

    12pm-1:30pm Sea Stories Above the Harbor
    Location: Best Western Kodiak Inn, Harbor Room
    Sponsored by: Alaska Marine Conservation Council and Alaska Sea Grant

    The Alaska Young Fishermen's Network is hosting a lunchtime Comfish forum featuring the Alaska Young Fishermen's Almanac. The Almanac is a first of its' kind, a cultural touchstone that communicates and celebrates our unique and shared fishing ways of life. Come and enjoy a cup of rockfish chowder prepared by Monk's Rock with fish supplied by a local jig fisherman and listen to seastories.

    1:30pm-2:15pm The Chute Camera - Developing an automated tool to measure halibut bycatch onboard trawlers
    Presented By: Craig Rose, FishNext Research
    Location: Best Western Kodiak Inn, Harbor Room
    Dr. Craig Rose will describe the development and testing of an automated device to count and measure halibut as they are released from trawl catches. Halibut bycatch limits are as important to Kodiak trawlers as ​catch limits on the species that they target. The camera chute takes pictures of halibut as they are released, automatically measures them, and estimates the total weight and number of halibut released. Tests during 14 trips aboard 8 Kodiak trawlers identified needed improvements, resulting in a device suitable for use in Alaska fisheries, as well as providing experience with its use. Applications on Bering Sea trawlers and for species identification will also be described. 

    2:15pm-3pm State Legislative Update
    Presented by: Representative Louise Stutes
    Location: Best Western Kodiak Inn, Harbor Room

    3:15pm -4pm Magnuson Stevens Act Reauthorization Update
    Presented by: TBA
    Location: Best Western Kodiak Inn, Harbor Room

    4pm-5pm Exhibitor Reception
    Sponsored by: Cascade Engine and Kodiak Diesel
    Location: Kodiak Harbor Convention Center
    Stop by the tradeshow for beer hosted by Cascade Engine and Kodiak Diesel

    4:30pm-5pm Popping the Life Raft!
    Presented by: Arthur Schultz and Julie Matweyou, Alaska Marine Safety Education Association
    Kodiak Harbor Convention Center, Outside
    Join a safety demonstration while enjoying the Exhibitor Reception.

  • Saturday, March 24th

    10am-3pm ComFish Trade Show Open to the Public
    Location: Kodiak Harbor Convention Center

    10am-12pm Processor Recognition & Fish Exhibit
    Location: Kodiak Harbor Convention Center, Outside
    Come see and learn about some of Kodiak’s marine fish species – lots of different, unique fish you don’t often see and attend a salmon shark dissection while you are there. Recognition and appreciation of Kodiak’s processing companies and their workers: each local processor will be awarded a very special award. Door prizes for the audience!

    12:30-2pm Fishermen’s Showcase
    Hosted by: Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program
    Location: Kodiak Harbor Convention Center, Outside

    Join us for the 3rd annual Fishermen's Showcase! This is a friendly competition for Kodiak fishermen to demonstrate their skills and compete for the honor of the most able Fisherman! Competitors complete five skills in timed heats of three contestants, and overall best time takes the title! Prizes available! Sign up on the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program event site, at the Chamber of Commerce ComFish booth, in person with Julie Matweyou or Astrid Rose (, or show up at the showcase. Sign up in groups of three if you want to compete with you crewmates or friends!

    2pm-3pm Preliminary results from the NOAA winter 2018 acoustic surveys on pollock and a look at new, innovative survey tools
    Presented by: Darin Jones & Kresimir Williams, NOAA Fisheries, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Seattle
    Location: Best Western Kodiak Inn, Harbor Room
    NOAA Researchers will present preliminary results from the latest acoustic-trawl surveys to assess pre-spawning biomass of walleye pollock in the Gulf of Alaska. These surveys provide one of the indices used to set Gulf pollock quotas.  The scientists will also discuss new and innovative tools to improve and complement their survey efforts.