ASTORIA - Former U.S. Sen. Mark Hatfield, former U.S. Rep. Les AuCoin and other dignitaries will speak here Wednesday (July 15) at the dedication of the Oregon State University Seafood Research Center and the new Duncan Law Seafood Consumer and Education Center.
Hatfield and AuCoin helped spearhead fund-raising for construction of the facilities, expected to give a boost to Oregon's $200 million-a-year seafood industry.
The 21,000-square-foot research center, two stories with cedar shingles so it fits with Astoria's cannery motif, cost $3.2 million. The center was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, OSU and the Oregon Department of Economic Development.
The OSU Seafood Laboratory will occupy about 15,000 square feet in the center and the OSU Extension Service's Clatsop County office, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Trawl Commission will occupy the remaining space.
The OSU Seafood Laboratory was established in Astoria in 1939 and is one of the oldest facilities of its kind in the United States.
The $1.5 million used to fund the 9,500-square-foot Seafood Consumer and Education Center came from the U.S. Economic Development Agency and the Oregon Department of Economic Development.
The Seafood Consumer and Education Center is on the former Clatsop County fairgrounds near the intersection of Marine Drive and 20th Street, adjacent to the research center.
The OSU Seafood Laboratory will continue its close ties with the seafood industry in Oregon and the Northwest, according to Michael Morrissey, who has directed the lab since 1990.
Morrissey said the OSU research facility focuses on "value-added product development, seafood safety, seafood biochemistry and quality, surimi development and seafood wastes issues."
"The laboratory has expanded rapidly over the last five years and currently has three faculty members, two technicians and 12 researchers, including graduate students," Morrissey said.
In recent years, the OSU lab helped pioneer on-shore processing of Pacific whiting, once considered a "trash fish," for the production of surimi, noted Morrissey. This has made a substantial contribution to the state economy, he said.
The OSU Seafood Laboratory is part of the Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station, one of 10 branches of the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station headquartered on the OSU campus.
The Seafood Consumer and Education Center will have close ties to the Seafood Laboratory. Its focus will be on consumer issues, including seafood preparation, training and education, according to Morrissey.
The consumer center is named for Duncan Law, a retired OSU professor who conducted research for decades at the OSU Seafood Laboratory. Law came up with the idea for the new complex. He felt there was a need for a facility for seafood research, training, marketing and promotion.