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Seafood competition adds roe category

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The Symphony of Seafood competition is looking for the best Alaska seafood products -- including those made from byproducts and roe.

Millions of pounds of seafood are harvested in Alaska each year, but not all of that fish winds up on consumers plates. An annual Alaska seafood competition is increasing its focus on the underutilized parts of fish caught in Alaska’s waters, edible or not.

The annual Symphony of Seafood competition is organized by the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation. Executive Director Julie Decker said the event is focused on encouraging development of new fish products.

 “The whole goal of this event is to increase the value of Alaska’s seafood resource by encouraging value added manufacturing," she said. "And there’s a trend toward fully utilizing 100 percent of the resource that comes out of the water, which is great for many reasons. To get more value, it’s good for the environment. So all these things we’re helping to encourage with this event.”

This year, there’s another new category -  called “beyond the egg.”

“And that’s for products made with roe," she said. "So that could be anything such as Uni from urchins, or herring roe or salmon roe, Pollock roe, and anything that can be thought of with those roe products. We’re hoping to spotlight the value and health benefits that come from roe from our seafood.”

Last year, the competition added a “beyond the plate” category, for things made from the waste and trimmings that result from primary processing. Submissions included pet treats, fish broth and a whitefish oil, Decker said.

"We’ve been hearing this year that folks have been contacting us about leather products, made with fish skin, potentially cosmetic products, so we’re pretty excited that we’re going to see a wide-variety of products in that category," Decker said.

In addition to the newer additions, there are retail and food service categories. Entries for all four categories are due Jan. 8, and everything submitted has to be commercial-ready product. Judging starts Feb. 10 at an event in Seattle, and the winners in each category will be announced in Anchorage Feb. 19.