Kodiak high school students learn seafood smoking and safety

students in a lab looking at bacterial cultures
Kodiak High School students view bacterial cultures in the seafood microbiology lab at the Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center, learning where and how food pathogens grow, as part of the smoked seafood workshop in January 2023. Photo by Caleb Taylor/Alaska Sea Grant.

Kodiak Island Borough high school students and teachers gained hands-on experience with seafood processing and smoking, including an introduction to seafood science and safety. The two-day smoked seafood workshop was taught by Chris Sannito, Alaska Sea Grant’s seafood technology specialist, at the University of Alaska’s Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center. Also participating were school district superintendent Dr. Cyndy Mika and Kodiak High School principal Joyce Blair.

Participants learned brine recipes, smoking techniques, and tips for making fish jerky. The class used salmon and sablefish—also known as black cod—to make salmon jerky, candied salmon, and candied sablefish. In addition to brining and smoking fish, participants also learned about nutritional labeling, water activity, and harmful food pathogens. A microbiology lab experiment reinforced seafood safety concepts, giving students an understanding of the environments where harmful bacteria thrive and tools to keep the pathogens at bay.

The high school workshop was free for participants, made possible with fish donated from Kodiak Island Wild Source and support from the University of Alaska’s Technical Vocational Education Program.

students in a classroom listening to an instructor
Students from Kodiak High School get a lesson in smoked seafood safety from seafood technology specialist Chris Sannito at the Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center. Photo by Caleb Taylor/Alaska Sea Grant.

In a Kodiak Daily Mirror story about the event (paywall), senior Marcus Gunn remarked, “I think the workshop is really amazing. There is so much I could learn, so much I did learn. It’s just so fascinating.”

The smoked seafood class is part of the Alaska Seafood School, which conducts a range of workshops and classes including hazard analysis and critical control points for seafood, better process control school, and seaweed harvesting and processing. The Alaska Seafood School is run by Alaska Sea Grant at the Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center.

Planning is underway for another smoked seafood workshop in May, this one for residents of the Kodiak Island Borough. With the class limited to 20 people, it is expected to fill quickly. Registration will open on April 3, and is free for participants, made possible with funding from the Kodiak Island Borough City Council.