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Grant will give a boost to Bristol Bay training programs

“The fishery is our largest industry; it’s the backbone of the economy here,” said Patty Heyano, program development director for the Bristol Bay Native Association in Dillingham. “So it made a whole lot of sense to concentrate on that. It seemed like we could make the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time because the industry is already here.”

Heyano is referring to a $405,000 Rural Development grant that BBNA has received from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In collaboration with the Southwest Alaska Vocational and Education Center (SWAVEC), the money will help ramp up industry related training programs.

“The Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge can be summed up to say job accelerator,” said Larry Yerich, public information coordinator at the USDA Rural Development office in Anchorage.

BBNA was one of just 13 out of 62 applicants nationwide to win a Challenge grant, which allow recipients to craft programs designed to fill the needs of their own regions. It is also the first award of its type in Alaska.

“The first one in Alaska, and the first in the nation to a Native organization,” Heyano noted proudly.

The grant will be used to develop curricula and a cluster of training and certification programs at the Voc/Ed Center focused on two tracks: helping more people enter the region’s fisheries or start small fish processing operations.

“They will teach a wide range of things fishermen need — navigation, boat maintenance, engine repair … and then there’s things like compliance with management and US Coast Guard regulations,” Heyano said, adding that the program will also help existing fishermen with their operations. BBEDC also has a salmon permit loan program and training will help people meet the requirements for loans.

The grant money also will enable instructors to be based in the Bristol Bay region.

“They have a state of the art facility for training, but they don’t have instructors and their own curriculum. Other training programs bring their programs to SAVEC,” explained Heyano.

Developing the curricula and training clusters for the jobs accelerator program will begin this fall, she said, and it should be up and running by next year.

“They didn’t call it a challenge for nothing, because implementing this program is going to be a big challenge. But I think it’s going to be great because with SAVEC being located here in the region, they are in a really good position to be responsive to the needs of the people.”

OCEAN INDEX

The world’s oceans get a grade of 60 out of 100 according to new Ocean Health Index (OHI). The mediocre grate indicates we are not “managing our use of the oceans in an optimal way,” according to index creators at Conservation International, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit focused on “a healthy and productive planet and smarter paths to development.” Its members include a who’s who of planet advocates such as National Geographic.

The OHI “provides for the first time a comprehensive, science based measurement of what’s happening in our oceans and a global platform from which to evaluate the implications of human action or inaction,” said Dr. Greg Stone, a co-author of the paper in Nature.

The index evaluates the health of the oceans adjacent to 171 countries and territories out to 200 miles. The rankings are based on an average of 10 ecological, social and economic “goals” such as fishing opportunities, clean water and coastal protection.

The U.S. ranked at No. 26 with an OHI of 63. Positive upward trends for U.S. oceans were providing a “sense of place,” food provision, natural products and local fishing opportunities. Trending down in US oceans were carbon storage, biodiversity, clean waters, coastal protection and coastal livelihoods and economies.

Coming in at No. 1 with an index of 86 was uninhabited Jarvis Island in the South Pacific. Germany ranked No. 4, the Netherlands and Canada both came in at No. 9, Japan at No. 11 and Australia raned No. 14 for the health of oceans off its coasts. Find the report at OceanHealthIndex.org.

SALMON WATCH

The statewide salmon catch topped 107 million fish by Aug. 17 (up by 16 million fish from last week) on its way to a preseason forecast of 132 million salmon. Pink catches will tell the tale — they were nearing 55 million (a weekly increase of 16 million fish); a catch of 70 million is projected. Other tallies: 217,000 kings, 15.7 million chums, 1.4 million coho and 35 million sockeye.

GOLF FIGHTS HUNGER

America’s food banks were the big winners in the annual Ocean Beauty Benefit Golf Tournament, which raised $10,000 last week to help feed hungry families. The money goes directly to SeaShare, which has linked the seafood industry and suppliers to food banks across the country since 1994. Through SeaShare the seafood industry has become one of the largest private sources of protein for hunger relief in the nation.

FISH CORRECTION

Barrick Gold Corp., parent company of Donlin Creek LLC and its proposed Donlin Gold mine, has not contributed any money to the Vote No on 2 coastal management initiative, as stated in last week’s column. Also, Barrick is not now, nor has never been, a backer of the Chuitna coal project in Upper Cook Inlet. Fish Factor regrets the error.


Laine Welch is a Kodiak-based fisheries journalist. Her Fish Radio programs can be heard on stations around the state. This material is protected by copyright. For information on reprinting, contact msfish@alaska.com.

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Chef Gregory Gourdet Crowned King of American Seafood at Annual Cook-Off in New Orleans

Portland, OR Based Chef Bested 15 Chefs from Across the Nation to Win Great American Seafood Cook-Off

New Orleans, LA (PRWEB) August 16, 2012

Chef Gregory Gourdet of Departure Restaurant in Portland, OR took first place at the ninth annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off in New Orleans on August 11. His dish of slow cooked Oregon Chinook Salmon featuring Butter Clams, Bacon Dashi, Porcini, Roasted Heirloom Tomato and Crispy Sea Greens impressed a discriminating panel of judges and earned him the title of King of American Seafood.

The event, sponsored by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and presented by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion Marketing Board, is known for pitting up-and-coming chefs against recognized culinary greats from throughout the United States. The chefs were asked to create unique dishes with domestic seafood, and utilize fish that’s native to their home states whenever possible. Prior winners include John Currence of City Grocery in Oxford, MS and John Besh of Restaurant August in New Orleans.

“This year we had more chefs participate than ever before, raising the competition to a whole new level,” said Ewell Smith, executive producer of the Cook-Off and executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion Marketing Board. “Chef Gourdet secured an extraordinary win and we’re proud to have him join previous winners in serving as an ambassador for domestic and sustainable seafood.”

The 2011 King of American Seafood, Chef Jim Smith of the Alabama Governor’s Mansion crowned Chef Gourdet during the official awards presentation. Chef Keith Frentz of LOLA in Covington, LA earned second prize with a dish of Louisiana Black Drum and Gulf Shrimp, while Chef Jack Gilmore of Jack Allen’s Kitchen in Austin, TX took home third prize with his Head-to-Tail Gulf Shrimp Fritter.

NOAA’s Fisheries Service is the annual event’s chief sponsor and uses the cook-off to highlight – to American seafood consumers – the agency’s commitment to a healthy marine environment and improving the nation’s domestic seafood supply.

“NOAA has been involved from the start, and I am thrilled to see the event become bigger and bigger each year,” said Sam Rauch, Acting Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries, a long-time supporter of the Great American Seafood Cook-Off. “The event has been highly effective in raising awareness of the value of our domestic fisheries, and it displays the skills of our country’s most talented seafood chefs.”

Sig Hansen, one of the featured captains on Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch, co-hosted the 2012 Great American Seafood Cook Off along with Chef Cory Bahr of Restaurant Cotton, who is also a recent winner of Food Network’s Chopped, and Ewell Smith, executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board.

Judges of the 2012 competition were: Chef Joho of Everest and Paris Club in Chicago, Brasserie Jo in Boston and Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas; Chef Johnny Nunn, executive chef of Brasserie Montmartre in Portland, OR; Liz Grossman, managing editor of Plate Magazine; Ron Ruggless, Bureau Chief at Nation’s Restaurant News; Vicki Wellington, vice president and publisher of Food Network Magazine; and Sam Rauch, Assistant Administrator for Fisheries at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Earlier this year, organizers of The Great American Seafood Cook-Off encouraged states to hold a qualifying round or appoint a chef to compete in the event. There were chefs representing 16 states such as: Alaska, Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

Previous winners of the Great American Seafood Cook-Off include:

2011 – Jim Smith, Alabama Governor’s Mansion

2010 – Dean Max, 3030 Ocean, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

2009 – Tory McPhail, Commander’s Palace, New Orleans, LA

2008 – John Currence, City Grocery, Oxford, MS

2007 – Tim Thomas, Ocean Forest Golf Club, Sea Island, GA

2006 – Justin Timineri, Florida Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services

2005 – Randy Evans, Brennan’s of Houston, Houston, TX

2004 – John Besh, Restaurant August, New Orleans, LA

More information and winning recipes will be available at http://www.GreatAmericanSeafoodCookoff.com

###

Richard Shea
Shea Communications
212-627-5766
Email Information

Try one of several weekday markets

It’s not a problem. Several markets are available leading up to the big events Saturday.

Once place to start is the South Anchorage Farmers Market behind the Dimond Center. Vendors expected to be at Wednesday’s market include Glacier Valley Farm, Stockwell Farm and Earthworks Farm. Expect lots of fresh produce.

“The intensity of the Wednesday market is not like that of the Saturday market,” says market organizer Arthur Keyes of Glacier Valley Farm. “We typically have the higher demand items — strawberries, carrots, spinach, cut flowers — for much longer, usually they last until midday. It’s a bit easier to get into and out of the market because again the traffic isn’t as intense and there are more ways to ingress and egress from the market.

“It is a happy, convenient, market!”

Maybe it’s time to stop in.

Or visit the Center Market, which is open both Wednesday and Saturday in the parking lot for The Mall at Sears. It opens at 11 a.m. on Wednesdays.

The market’s organizers — Alex Davis of A.D. Farm and Duane Clark of Country Health Foods — are always on the lookout to add fun events or vendors. In addition to regular vendors, look for cut dahlia flowers from the Persistent Farmer and sprouts and other fresh items from Alaska Sprouts, along with Sleeping Lady Alaskan Foods with Alaska salt and House of Bread products. Also on Wednesday, Iditarod and Yukon Quest musher Newton Marshall will be at the market with his book “One Mush.”

Regular items include Clark’s grass-fed Alaska beef, salmon, fresh peas, herbs and perennial flowers, along with Davis’ pork products, produce (broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, four types of lettuce, cabbage, snow peas) and jams. Davis is running a special on spicy sausage — 50 percent off the 2-pound packages — and offering 25 percent off 10-pounds or more of broccoli. “Around here, blanching (broccoli) is pretty serious business, so whatever you don’t take, we will put up for the winter,” Davis said.

Over at the Northway Mall Wednesday Market, Mark Rempel said: “There is hope! The recent heat has had a good effect on the winter squash prospects.”

The Rempels will definitely have carrots, cauliflower, beets, mizuna, tat soi, collard greens, mustard greens, green onions, arugula, kale, spinach, mizuna, bok choi, Napa cabbage, broccoli, zucchini, new potatoes, salad mix and lots of other options. These items are also available at Saturday’s South Anchorage Farmers Market.

Other activities at Saturday’s South Anchorage market include the Antique Power Club’s annual visit with their old-time tractors and Northrim Bank’s annual purple plant contest; bring something purple to the market for the competition.

Rise Shine Bakery will be bringing its dark chocolate and cherry sourdough bread to the market, along with fresh rosemary, Alaskan onion rye, Alaskan baked potato and spent grain.

Alison Arians described the dark chocolate and cherry this way: “It’s as rich and decadent as cake, only instead of eggs and butter, the long-fermented sourdough gives the loaf its great texture and delicious flavor complexity. For those of you who have been waiting for it, you might want to stock up with a few loaves and toss the extras in the freezer.”

Other vendors this week include Dave’s Greenhouse from Fairbanks with tomatoes and Wolverine Farms with fresh peas, along with many regulars like Alaska Sprouts, Joan’s Jams and Jellies, Mat Valley Meats, Lewis Farm with multi-colored potatoes (they’re highlighting Yukon golds, cherry reds, blue mollies and maybe some baby red fingerlings), Three Bears Farm and VanderWeele Farm.

Sarah Bean of the Anchorage Farmers Market and Arctic Organics says “summer is finally here.”

“It helps a lot to have carrots, but we also have three colors of beets, which makes for a pretty colorful display of produce! The real sign of summer is abundant zucchini harvests, which we can finally claim to have. The broccoli is gearing up for another bumper crop, and the cauliflower can’t be too far behind.”

In addition to those items, expect tender early summer cabbage, turnips, kohlrabi, loads of kale, rainbow chard, spinach, arugula, lots of greens and lettuces. Herbs include Genovese basil, anise basil, lemon basil, dill, parsley, chervil, thyme, marjoram, sage, tarragon, epazote, lovage and chives. And there will be plenty of cut flowers too.

Rob Wells will be at the market with dahlia blooms. “My dahlia crop is almost all in bloom and there will be hundreds of blooms throughout the week and on Saturday,” he said. “Many of the varieties are new to me and delightful. I have been providing flowers for weddings and special occasions, so customers may be interested in contacting me at the market for more information.” He also will have cheese curds and other Matanuska Creamery products at the market.

From the sea

Dannon Southall of 10th M Seafood said the “seafood world is a mixed bag this week. Cohos are starting to show up and … there are a few sockeyes still available.”

He says troll kings in Southeast opened for a few days and he expects some fresh fish in this week, along with a “special item” of fresh king crab. They should be available Wednesday and he recommends calling ahead.

Steve Edwards lives and writes in Anchorage. If you have a suggestion for a future Market Fresh column, please contact him at sedwards@adn.com.

Farmers markets

Wednesday: Center Market, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street; Northway Mall Wednesday Farmers Market, Northway Mall parking lot, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; South Anchorage Farmers Market, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., behind the Dimond Center; Wasilla Farmers Market, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., behind the Wasilla Public Library

Thursday: Peters Creek Farmers Market, 3-7 p.m., American Legion Post 33

Friday: Palmer Friday Fling, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Pavilion across from Visitor’s Center

Saturday: Anchorage Farmers Market, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 15th and Cordova in the Central Lutheran Church parking lot; Anchorage Market and Festival, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Third Avenue between C and E streets; Center Market, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street; Eagle River Farmers Market, in front of Mike’s Meats, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Farm Market at the Barn, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Glacier Valley Farm, Glenn Highway and Inner Springer Loop Road; South Anchorage Farmers Market, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Subway/Cellular One Sports Center at the corner of Old Seward Highway and O’Malley Road; Spenard Farmers Market, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Spenard Road and 26th Avenue

Sunday: Anchorage Market and Festival, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Third Avenue between C and E streets

My turn: Stand up for Alaska, vote yes on 2

During my eight years as Governor, we used the Alaska Coastal Management Program (ACMP) to facilitate and effectively promote numerous development projects. Through ACMP, Alaskans were at the table to help government agencies and industries determine how best we could develop Alaska’s resources. The program worked well and made sense then. It still makes sense today.

I’m pleased Alaskans have the opportunity to bring back smart coastal development by voting for Ballot Measure #2 in the Primary Election.

In my experience, coastal management was an important part of a successful process during one of Alaska’s most active periods of new exploration and increased development of oil and gas. We worked closely with industry and federal agencies in developing the Northstar, Alpine, and Badami fields. For the first time in a generation, we opened millions of acres of federal land in the NPR-A. All of these oil and gas projects and dozens of other projects on the North Slope and Cook Inlet moved forward with full utilization of the coastal management process.

Why? The program was more than local participation. It succeeded because it also coordinated agencies and the permitting process between state and federal government. It gave industry simplified access and accountability. The ACMP was good government and made good sense. It’s still a good idea.

Our coastal program didn’t help just oil and gas projects. It included the massive development of Dutch Harbor industrial seafood processing facilities, improvements to Southeast fishing facilities, and numerous new mining projects. There were many improvements to urban areas, such as the major renovation of the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, significant rebuilding of the Seward highway from Anchorage to Seward and Kenai. All of these important projects were planned and completed through the ACMP.

What did local communities want to negotiate at the table with industry and government agencies? They wanted to protect water quality, ensure adequate safety and cleanup procedures, protect land and ocean wildlife and fish habitat, and provide revenues to mitigate local impacts. They wanted a forum for important community economic and cultural concerns.

These are hardly radical or extreme concepts. Most Alaskans embrace these important development considerations. Alaskans want people at ground zero to have a strong voice. They want locals to help make the case for the best possible resource development in their communities.

The ACMP worked. Local residents and communities participated and their voices were heard. These projects had strong local support and all were developed.

But because of political gridlock in Juneau, the legislature let the ACMP die. We lost an important opportunity to bring communities to the table when industry proposes projects in coastal areas. Losing the ACMP eliminated Alaska’s most effective tool to influence federal land and water use decisions.

When Alaska became the only coastal state in America without a coastal management program, we no longer held what other coastal states had – a unique upper hand in dealing with the feds. This is the only national act that requires federal agencies to be consistent with a state program, and we gave it away.

During my administration, the overarching accomplishment of coastal management was to replace litigation and confrontation with communication and negotiation. At the end of the day, the ACMP created a sense of common purpose and empowered local people to be the guardians of promises made. At a time when people are fed up with partisan polarization and political stalemate, we can take an important and positive step away from that sort of divisiveness. We can reinstate a program with has a proven record of accomplishment and moving development forward.

ACMP opponents claim it stops or delays development and that we need fewer regulations and no interference from residents and communities. I know they’re wrong and so do several states with no reputation for burdensome regulations or roadblocks to development. Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Texas, and Louisiana haven’t found the Coastal Management Program an obstruction to development. Neither did Alaska for the 34 years we used the program. Add to this list the entire Eastern and Western seaboards, the Great Lakes states, and Hawaii and we have an overwhelming consensus that coastal management is an effective pro-development tool for state and local control. In the entire Nation, only Alaska has missed the boat.

We can correct that mistake. Look at the facts, not the sales pitches. Stand up for Alaska and positive resource development. Vote yes on Proposition 2.

• Knowles is a former governor of Alaska.

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South Mississippi beaches called 'amazing' by USA Today

BILOXI — USA Today has named the beach along the Mississippi Coast one of the most amazing American beaches.

The newspaper Friday listed 20 of the best beaches in the U.S., and Coast beaches are listed alongside those in Hawaii, Florida, Massachusetts and South Carolina.

“Although Hurricane Katrina badly damaged Biloxi in 2005, the white-sand beaches have largely been redeveloped and revitalized,” the article said. “And with luxury casino resorts, golf courses and world-class seafood restaurants, the area earns Mississippi Gulf Coast its nickname of ‘the playground of the South.’”

Chuck Loftis, director of the Harrison County Sand Beach Department, said he didn’t know about the designation but was pleased.

“That’s fantastic,” he said Friday. “Great news. We can always use positive news.”

The article didn’t say what criteria were used to choose the beaches but did urge readers to “check out these 20 awe-inspiring beaches that America has to offer, from Alaska to Washington state (and nearly everywhere in between).”

The other beaches on the list include Shell Island and Fort Zachary Taylor in Florida; Anini Beach and Lanikai Beach in Hawaii; Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz, Calif.; Cannon Beach in Oregon; Old Orchard Beach in Maine; Secret Cove in Lake Tahoe, Nev.; Montauk Point State Park in New York; Isla Bianca Park in South Padre Island, Texas; Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan; Aquinnah Cliffs in Martha’s Vineyard; Second Beach in Washington; Leigh Lake in Wyoming; Folly Beach in South Carolina; Icy Strait Point in Alaska; Presque Isle State Park, Pennsylvania; Children’s Pool Beach, La Jolla, Calif.; and Harkers Island in North Carolina.

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Kenai Peninsula Beer Festival set for this weekend

This year’s second annual Kenai Peninsula Beer Festival will sell 1,500 tickets at the doors, said Matt Pyhala, the organizer of the festival and vice president of the Soldotna Rotary Club. Tickets are $20 and include a glass and six, 4 ounce samples. After six samples, more can be purchased — two for $3 or 12 for $15.

The festival will be at the Soldotna Sports Center on Saturday from 4 to 10 p.m.

At last year’s festival, co-owner of Kassik’s Brewery Frank Kassik said breweries were asked to bring 15 gallons of their beers.

“We went through close to 75 (gallons),” Kassik said. “We went back and got more. But this year, I think it’s going to be a little better controlled as to quantities.”

Pyhala said he thinks it will be, too. He said beer should be in surplus this year now that the kinks are worked out. He may even sell another 500 tickets if the beer lasts after the first 1,500 people.

Last year was the first year for the festival, and he said he didn’t know how many people to expect.

“We were at a different location last year; a thousand people were really all we could do,” Pyhala said.

Last year, St. Elias Brewing Company won first place in the peoples choice award for their beer, and this year co-owner Jessie Kolesar said he is feeling optimistic, “seeing that it’s local and we have good support.”

He said they will probably bring their Puddle Jumpers Pale Ale, The Farmer’s Friend, Williwaw I.P.A. and Fair Trade Porter.

For Kenai River Brewing Company, Brewer Joe Gilman said they will likely bring their Sunken Island I.P.A., Skilak Scottish, Peninsula Brewers Reserve (P.B.R.) and a few mystery beers “as a special surprise.”

It’s “a great beer fest,” he said.

The third local brewery, Kassik’s Brewery, is not sure what they will bring.

“Summer time is pretty tough for us to keep up with the state demand. So we’re going to grab what we can,” Kassik said.

He said that includes their mainstays and certain special beers. 

The music line up in order, Pyhala said, will include Bulldog and the Moose Nuggets, Troubadour North, Yellow Cabin and Big Foot Buddha.

There will also be food. Davis and Sons will sell barbeque; Charlotte’s will have chili; Corn and Roasters may have jalapeno poppers; Custom Seafood Processing will have smoked salmon and free sausages samples, and Big Daddy Pizza will bring pizza.

Pyhala said last year there were no incidents that required law enforcement.

“The troopers and the police were well aware of what we were doing; we involved them definitely in all the process,” he said. “As people were pulling out, right at first they were pulling people just to check them, and everybody passed with flying colors.”

He said the reason was Alaska Cab — last year they provided free cabs, and this year owner Brent Hibbert said he is extending the same service to the community.

“I thought, if the Rotary’s doing this, we can help out and be a community member and make sure everybody gets home safe,” Hibbert said. “We don’t want anybody getting hurt or going to jail or anything like that.”

Pyhala said this event is about enjoying beer and being responsible, and if people do indulge, he encourages them to take advantage of the free cabs.

“Big thanks goes out to them because keeping people safe is definitely one of the top priorities,” he said. 

All ticket proceeds benefit the Soldotna Rotary Club, and all beer is donated to the festival.

Dan Schwartz can be reached at daniel.schwartz@peninsulaclarion.com