Alaska Sea Grant teaches direct marketers at seafood summit

Alaska Sea Grant participated in the 2022 Local Seafood Summit last month, sponsored by the Local Catch Network and hosted in Girdwood, Alaska. The Local Catch Network is a community-of-practice made up of seafood harvesters, technical assistance providers, organizers, and researchers from across North America who are committed to strengthening local and regional seafood systems through community supported fisheries and direct seafood marketing. Petersburg agent Sunny Rice helped organize the interactive event and served on the planning committee. 

wild Alaskan salmon on ice
Alaska wild caught salmon. Photo courtesy of Paula Cullenberg.

Sunny Rice and Marine Advisory Program leader Gabe Dunham and Samantha Schaffstall from USDA, led sessions about available tools and grants, and the importance of business planning for direct marketing operations.

“The session went really well,” said Rice.  “We were pleased that the participants were willing to put pencil to paper right there in the workshop to help them think about the guiding principles of their businesses.”

Rice and Dunham shared two business planning tools developed for fishermen. FishBizPlan, developed by a national partnership that included Alaska Sea Grant, walks a person step-by-step through the process of writing a plan, and includes example plans written for fishermen engaging in direct marketing. The Pro Forma Fishing Vessel Operational Analysis spreadsheet available on Alaska Sea Grant’s FishBiz website is a tool that allows fishermen to make projections and calculations for their fishing business. 

“It was great to make connections with technical assistance providers from around the country at the summit,” said Dunham. The reach extends to other countries as well, “We heard from a provider from Canada that he is going to use FishBizPlan with his clients.”

The 2022 Local Seafood Summit was supported by a wide range of sponsors, including National Sea Grant and Alaska Sea Grant.