Cook Inlet fishermen look for marketing niche

Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2001

KENAI (AP) -- The search is on for a name to give Cook Inlet seafood. The Cook Inlet brand steering committee hopes to have a trademarked name for salmon and eventually other seafood harvested from the Inlet by the second quarter of next year.

Steering committee chair Mark Powell said it is premature to propose names, as the committee is just beginning to address that issue.

''What we have thought about is going to the schools and let children submit ideas,'' he said.

The ideal name will be locally recognized as well as be easily marketed and remembered by consumers across the nation.

But a name for Cook Inlet fish is only the tip of the iceberg. It's what lies behind that name that will guarantee success: quality.

''Quality control will be measured from the point of harvest through icing and transportation and into the plants,'' Powell said. ''And each lot that goes to market will be tested to make sure its quality is at a high level. This is all done by independent third-party inspectors.''

Paying better attention to quality initially will be a burden on fishermen and processors alike. They will have to sort their fish by grade, bleed them as soon as possible, layer them in ice and get the fish to the processor quickly.

''And it's possible for this to expand to not only sockeye, but halibut and other bottom fish,'' Powell said. ''The possibilities are endless if we get the initial plan off the ground and functional.''

He said the committee's hope is to have 80 percent of Cook Inlet seafood sold under the branded label eventually.

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