Alaska fishermen, processors gear up for Roe School

Updated April 21, 2017

Instructor addressing students in seafood processing lab Chris Bledsoe, president of Aquatic Foods International, addresses participants in roe grading, quality, and product development at the 2016 Roe School. Brian Himelbloom photo.

Update: The April Roe School class has been canceled.

Kodiak, Alaska—Have you ever wanted to learn how to turn fish eggs into caviar? Or make food products that appeal to Asian consumers in particular? If so, you’re in luck. Alaska Sea Grant is offering a two-day “Roe School” in Kodiak in April.

Participants will receive classroom instruction and do hands-on activities to acquire or deepen roe-processing skills.

“It’s about learning how to process and prepare seafood roe for safe, raw consumption,” said instructor Chris Sannito, a seafood specialist with Alaska Sea Grant.

Students will be taught how to turn roe into sujiko, also known as “salmon roe in a sack,” and into ikura. Both are popular with Japanese and other Asian customers living abroad and in the United States. Instructors will also cover topics such as salt and sodium nitrate testing, packaging, marketing, and grading roe.

“It’s a fun and creative class, and it’s timely. There’s a need to build new roe markets,” Sannito said.

pile of fish roePollock roe. Brian Himelbloom photo.

Alaska-produced pollock and cod roe are largely consumed in Japan. Some goes to Korea. Salmon roe is eaten in Japan and a smaller quantity is sold to Europe, Russia and Ukraine. Japan is the main buyer for Alaska’s herring roe.

This is the second year that Alaska Sea Grant has offered Roe School. It’s held at the Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center, part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

The fee for the two-day class, April 27–28, is $270. Students who successfully complete the class will receive a certificate of achievement.

For more information or to register, visit the Roe School information page.

— By Paula Dobbyn

Alaska Sea Grant is a statewide marine research, education, and outreach program, and is a partnership between the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program agents provide assistance that helps Alaskans wisely use, conserve, and enjoy marine and coastal resources.