The president of Taiwan didn't visit the Kenai Peninsula earlier this month during a brief visit to Alaska, but he still got a taste of the area.
Cook Inlet Salmon Brand Inc. donated 250 pounds of "Kenai Wild" sockeye salmon for the Taiwanese delegation dinner held Nov. 4 at the Hotel Captain Cook. The salmon was donated at the request of Rep. Kelly Wolf, R-Kenai.
When Wolf heard farmed salmon originally was going to be served at the dinner, he spearheaded the effort to put Kenai Wild salmon on the plates of the visiting delegation instead, said Sylvia Beaudoin, executive director of Cook Inlet Salmon Brand Inc., which markets the salmon. Kenai Wild is sockeye salmon from Cook Inlet that has been caught and processed under stringent quality control standards.
The Taiwanese expressed an interest in Alaska's seafood market during their visit here, Wolf reported to the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.
Several groups played a role in donating the fish that Wolf personally delivered for the Taiwanese delegation dinner. Part of the fish came from the Kenai Fishermen's Cooperative and was processed by Snug Harbor Seafoods. The other part came from Alaska Salmon Purchasers and was processed by Salamatof Seafoods and Pacific Star Seafoods, Beaudoin said.
The Nov. 4 dinner, in honor of President Chen Shui-bian, was attended by more than 400 guests, including members of his delegation, Alaska government officials, traveling media and U.S. friends of Taiwan from Alaska and other states, The Associated Press reported.
Gov. Frank Murkowski, who recently visited Taiwan, invited Chen, along with other government, civic and business leaders, to see Alaska and talk about economic opportunities. Chen spent about 24 hours in Alaska, arriving here following a visit to Panama City for a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Panamanian independence.
On Oct. 31, Chen was in New York to accept the Inter-national League for Human Rights' annual Human Rights Award.
In 2002, Alaska exported $22 million in products, primarily seafood and wood, to Taiwan. Alaska has had a trade representative in Taiwan since 1989.
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