Fishers looking to become entrepreneurs may want to sign up for a seafood processing and business development training program that will be offered free of charge at Kenai Peninsula College in the fall.
The three-week course teaches participants what they need to know to bring seafood products directly to market, including how to handle seafood to insure safety and quality; how to fillet, process and smoke fish; how to store seafood at low temperatures; how to package; and how to develop a business plan and market a product, including Web page design and Internet marketing techniques. State and federal regulations also will be covered.
"(The course) is pretty much cradle to grave as to how to put a quality product out on the market ... from taking the fish out of the water until it hits the customer's mouth," said KPC director Gary Turner.
A desire to learn about seafood processing is the only requirement to take the free course. Participants don't have to have experience in the seafood industry or even have a product in mind they'd like to market.
"You have to have an interest in seafood (to take the course). You don't necessarily have to have a business plan mapped out," said Sylvia Beaudoin of "Kenai Wild" Cook Inlet Salmon Brand, which is cosponsoring the course along with the Community and Economic Development Division of the Kenai Peninsula Borough.
Part of the purpose of the course is to help participants get an idea of the range of possibilities in the seafood processing industry, including the requirements and potential difficulties involved in bringing a product to market.
The training will help participants figure out what they can handle and what might be beyond them, Beaudoin said.
In addition to classroom instruction, the course includes hands-on experience. For four days, the class will move to Snug Harbor Seafoods, where participants will learn the ins and outs of processing and smoking a variety of fish, including salmon, halibut, flounder, rockfish, cod and pollock.
The course is funded by a grant received by Prince William Sound Community College in Valdez, which, like KPC, is an extended campus of the University of Alaska Anchorage. Participants who complete the 15-day course will receive six units of UAA credit through the Valdez campus. Graduates of the program also will receive a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point certificate of completion. HACCP is a training program designed by the Food and Drug Administration to teach safe food processing and handling methods.
The course is scheduled to be held five days a week from Sept. 27 to Oct. 15. Enrollment is limited to 30 students.
For more information or to enroll, call Sylvia Beaudoin at 262-6355.
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