Kodiak summer interns benefit seafood industry

August 31, 2017

3 standing people smile Camron Christoffersen, Alina Fairbanks and Phil Ganz

Three summer interns at the Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center reported their project outcomes at a seminar in August. They worked on markets for nucleotide nutritional supplements from pollock, parasite control for seafood safety, and communicating seafood science to the public.

Alina Fairbanks used the internet to find more than 60 companies—large and small, domestic and international—that may be suitable for marketing nucleotide supplements made from Alaska pollock. Nucleotides are used as human nutritional supplements, feed for aquaculture and other animals and in infant formulas to enhance the immune system.

“This experience allowed me to play detective on the current nucleotide market, which is very different than doing research as an undergraduate student in a classroom,” said Fairbanks. “It has been a great experience learning the research process and understanding the marketing field.” She is earning her bachelor’s degree in the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Her work was funded by the Pollock Conservation Cooperative Research Center.

“We are going to use her results for our marketing research team—the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, Alaska Sea Grant, and Oregon State University,” said Quentin Fong, Alaska Sea Grant seafood marketing specialist. Fong supervised her nucleotide research in Kodiak, and kept all three intern projects on track.

Man holding a caught fishCamron Christoffersen

Camron Christoffersen, who graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree in biology, looked at methods to control salmon parasites. The research is needed because there is a trend to serve more undercooked fish in restaurants, including wild salmon. To ensure processor freezing and chef cooking practices are adequate for Alaska seafood, Christoffersen tested treatments that kill parasites in Alaska salmon and compared them to federal regulations.

He is writing up the results for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI).

As for his future, Christoffersen said the internship will help him decide on a career. “I plan to apply to various universities to pursue a master's degree,” he said.

man in office chair, holding booksPhil Ganz

Intern Phil Ganz worked on science communication. After consulting with Trident Seafoods he made two posters showing how to safely handle fish and good manufacturing practices, for a multinational workforce. The posters will be distributed to seafood processing plants statewide.

Ganz made a video of Christoffersen’s lab research for the ASMI website, and a video on how to smoke salmon for the Alaska Sea Grant website. He also researched how to effectively communicate environmental topics like ocean acidification for the Alaska seafood industry. Ganz will soon graduate with a master’s in fisheries from UAF.

The summer internship program was a partnership between ASMI and Alaska Sea Grant. ASMI’s Michael Kohan supervised the interns from her office in Juneau and visited Kodiak, while the Kodiak Alaska Sea Grant faculty were on-the-ground overseers, providing equipment and logistics.

“The collaboration between ASMI and Sea Grant on these internships was a successful endeavor to involve Alaska seafood industry research at the Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center, ” said Kohan.

Written by Sue Keller

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.