Workshops teach fishing industry to market directly


NEWPORT - A series of workshops will teach commercial fishers and seafood processors to keep their businesses afloat by building new markets and adding value to their catches.

The one-day session will be offered in six Northwest coastal cities. The series is sponsored by the Women's Coalition for Pacific Fisheries (WCPF) in association with Oregon and Washington Sea Grant. It is designed to help commercial fishers learn about direct marketing.

Each workshop will introduce marketing concepts, including branding and seafood quality. It will also teach participants the process of developing a marketing plan. Case studies from the commercial fishing industry will offer an inside look at direct marketing strengths and challenges within the industry.

Registration deadlines are Feb. 18 for the sessions in Washington and Feb. 25 for those in Oregon. Admission to the workshops is free to members of WCPF and $10 for non-members. To register for the sessions in Oregon, contact Ginny Goblirsch, 541-265-3463, or ginny.goblirsch@oregonstate.edu. For Washington workshops, contact Sarah Fisken, 206-543-1225, or sfisken@u.washington.edu. An online registration form is at http://wcpf.oregonstate.edu.

Quentin Fong, a seafood marketing specialist and associate professor of fisheries at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, will lead the workshops. Fong recently conducted a similar workshop series for eight communities in Alaska.

"Our commercial fishermen and processors face enormous pressure from foreign suppliers of fish and shellfish," Fong said. "This has had serious effects on domestic fisheries, especially within small coastal communities where livelihoods are dependent on the bounty of the sea."

Fong believes there is hope for commercial fishermen and their communities - if they can change their ways of doing business. "There's no easy fix," he said. "Usually a series of steps will make the difference between success and failure."

All workshops begin at 8:30 a.m. The afternoon will be devoted to specific questions by program participants. The schedule:

  • Feb. 25: Marina Conference Center, Makah Marina, Neah Bay, Wash.
  • Feb. 27: Squalicum Boathouse, 2600 Harbor Loop, Bellingham, Wash.
  • March 1: Nordby Conference Center, Nordby Building, Fishermen's Terminal, 1711 W. Nickerson Street, Seattle, Wash.
  • March 3: Duncan Law Seafood Consumer Center, 2001 Marine Drive, Astoria, Ore.
  • March 5: Englund Marine, 800 S.E. Bay Boulevard, Newport, Ore.
  • March 7: Best Western Brookings Inn, 1143 Chetco Ave., Brookings, Ore.

Other sponsors of the workshops include the Alaska Sea Grant College Program and the OSU-Shorebank Enterprise Pacific Partnership.