Fish Radio
Symphony of Seafood surprises, 2015
February 25, 2015                       

Pickled Willys Smoked black cod tips, aka "Cod Crack"  Credit:

Pickled Willys Smoked black cod tips, aka “Cod Crack”


 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Big surprises at the annual Alaska Symphony of Seafood. I’ll tell you more after this –   

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 Record crowds turned out to taste and vote on the latest seafood products debuted at the 22nd annual Alaska Symphony of Seafood held in three venues this month: Seattle, Juneau and Anchorage. The new seafood items are first judged in Seattle and all winners were kept secret until the final Symphony soiree last weekend in Anchorage. But at each event a prized People’s Choice Award is selected by ballot.

This year the People’s Choice was a surprise three-peat — all voted for Kodiak’s Pickled Willy’s Black Cod Tips, known jokingly in town as “crack cod tips.”

 It’s very unusual. That was wonderful to see and a real testament to what a good product it is.

 Julie Decker is director of the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation, host of the event. In terms of the judges’ selections: Pickled Willy’s also took first place in the food service category.

Copper River Seafoods’ Zesty cod portions won top honors in retail, and Tilgner’s Smoked Seafoods of Ninilchik took home a first in the smoked category for its Ruby Red Sockeye Salmon Chips and a second for its salmon candy.

 The biggest surprise of all was the Grand Prize Winner chosen from a new category this year called Beyond the Plate. Julie Decker:

A good surprise also – highest overall score given by the judges went to Arctic Paws Yummie Chummies dog treats. And this is the first time the Symphony has included a category for co-products, using untraditional parts of seafood, like wastes or skins.

 The co-products category was wildly successful, and Decker says she’s already been contacted by entrants for next year.

 I know there’s a lot of small companies around Alaska that are producing products and I hope word of mouth will encourage them as well. I mean there’s cosmetics qualified, fish leather, I spoke with a person who is starting a clothing line from crab and shells and there are a lot of products that are either underway or could qualify for this.  The Symphony of Seafood also demonstrates that bigger isn’t always better and many of the smallest producers take home the top prizes.

 It really comes down to the quality of your product.

 All winners get a free trip next month to the International Boston Seafood Show. Find out more at   

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. ( In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.