Fishing industry planning trade show for January

Posted: Monday, October 06, 2003

A group of Juneau businesses and fishermen plan to put on a seafood industry trade show in January to coincide with the International Pacific Halibut Commission's annual meeting, which is being held in Juneau this year.

The Southeast Seafood Industry Trade Show, scheduled for Jan. 20-21, will include booths run by businesses that support the Southeast fishing industry and lectures and workshops on a variety of topics, said committee chairman Tom Gemmell.

"It's mostly to give local businesses an opportunity to interact with commercial fishermen and vice versa. We're trying to bring everybody to one spot so they can talk fish for a couple days," Gemmell said.

Organizers estimate the show will draw about 150 attendees in addition to the 200 delegates expected for the IPHC meeting. The Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates the events will generate close to $80,000 in revenue for local businesses.

The show is not meant to compete with the annual Fish Expo in Seattle, which features hundreds of exhibitors, said Lon Matheny, who came up with the idea for the Southeast show.

Matheny, general manager of Capitol Office Supply, is not a fisherman. While attending another regional Alaska trade show, ComFish in Kodiak, he wondered why Southeast didn't have its own show.

"Southeast has different fishing requirements than out west does," Matheny said. "Why don't we rally around ourselves and put something together for ourselves?"

Gemmell said the focus will be on Juneau and Southeast businesses. Among the companies and agencies that have signed up for booths are Northland Services and Alaska Marine Lines, the state Department of Fish and Game, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, the Coast Guard, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Commercial Fisheries and Agriculture Bank.

The event will include a legislative luncheon.

Speakers have yet to be lined up, but Stephanie Madsen, vice president of the Pacific Seafood Processors Association and a member of the trade show committee, said subjects for talks could include safety, federal assistance for fishermen and information on direct marketing, among others.

Gemmell said the committee is surveying people to see what topics interest them.

• Masha Herbst can be reached at

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