Alaska's fishing industry must realize quality is key
I read the article by Hal Spence in the Feb. 13 Peninsula Clarion and would like to emphasize the urgent change needed by both government and industry.
Until the fishers and processors in Alaska recognize that quality is the key to value, you will be spending lots of valuable time and efforts for naught. I have spoken up at the various Fish Expo seminars in Seattle over the years trying to get the attendees to recognize their own problem and that drastic changes are needed in quality control, fishing, handling and processing before Alaskans will again obtain reasonable value for their catch and products.
The value for quality fish has not decreased much in the marketplace; however, the quality standards have been raised to such a level that the old ways do not measure up any more. Neither niche marketing nor branding will return good values for your fish in the long term -- you need to focus on product quality and deliver what the market demands.
Your industry has to keep up to date with technological development and market demands.
The first "light" to hit your news was the comments by the Alaska delegation that traveled to Chile to inspect the processing industry in a country much farther from the larger markets than Alaska. They suddenly recognized that the world had changed but Alaska had not.
We would be pleased to help the Alaska industry adapt; however, first the people involved need to recognize the old ways have failed and be willing to invest in the future, so the riches of the sea once again will benefit the people of your great state.
If Alaska would focus on consistently producing the highest quality, the world would again beat a path to your door.
S. Fredrik Sverre, president
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