Wind, rain and temperatures hovering in the low 40s, but feeling a lot colder, set the stage in Kodiak on April 19 for an outdoor fish filleting contest honoring the skills of the men and women on the Alaska island’s cannery row.
Under a canopy provided by the local Lions Club, in an event organized by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, Arturo Fangorila of Pacific Seafoods filleted four baskets full of Pacific cod, Arrowtooth flounder, rex sole and rock sole to win a round trip ticket to Anchorage on Alaska Airlines donated by the Alaska Groundfish Data Bank.
Fangorila and eight other cannery workers were judged on their speed in filleting, cutting and trimming skills, and got points deducted for any blemishes, bones, ragged edges and other improper cut or trimmed fillets.
Jeff Stephan of the United Fishermen’s Marketing Association in Kodiak, was the master of ceremonies for the event, which drew a crowd of cannery workers and participants in Kodiak’s annual ComFish fishery forums and trade show.
They were there, said Stephan, to celebrate the processor workforce, a group of people not much seen by the public, but very key to the success of seafood processing in Alaska.
While filleting contestants worked under the watchful eyes of judges, the crowd stood in their rain gear outside the protection of the canopy, cheering the contestants on. Participants in addition to Fangorila, represented Westward Seafoods, Trident Seafoods, Global Seafoods, Alaska Pacific Seafoods and Ocean Beauty Seafoods.