Mariculture team shapes plans for new industry; Public meeting Feb. 17

February 15, 2017


Shellfish, sea cucumbers, geoduck clams, seaweeds and biofuels are just a few of the crops envisioned by Alaskans who are crafting a framework for a statewide mariculture industry expansion.

An 11-member task force created a year ago by Governor Walker has wasted no time advancing its mission to put a comprehensive report on his desk by next March. The group, which meets regularly, also has attracted wide interest from Alaskans who want to serve on advisory committees as the plan takes shape.  

“Advisory committees include research, development and environment, regulatory issues, investment and infrastructure, workforce development and public education and marketing.”

Barbara Blake is the Governor’s point person on the task force. She says there is lots of interest among Alaskans.

“Yes, I get calls from interested partie,s at least a few a week, who would like to participate.”

Blake says the mariculture group is very gung ho.

Absolutely.  I think everyone who is participating in this group and the advisory committees are really committed to seeing this initiative move forward to develop something that will be beneficial for the entire state of Alaska and to see the growth of our economic opportunities throughout our coastlines and beyond. People are charged up for this. It’s a new concept that allows our communities to engage in a way that allows them to maintain their residence in our rural coastal communities.”

Senator Lisa Murkowski also has gotten onboard with the hiring of a marine biologist who will be the Senator’s mariculture point person.

Globally, shellfish and sea weeds add up to multi-billion dollar sustainable industries and in Alaska, much of the necessary infrastructure is already in place from the seafood industry and hatchery programs.

“Not only is it something that contributes to mini-operations in our coastal communities, there  are huge benefits by this being a green industry, it cleans our oceans, it provides for more areas for our fish to spawn. There really are not any down parts to this. It’s just building up the infrastructure in our state to allow those interested individuals to engage in this industry. That’s the purpose of the task force. And I think we can get there.

Alaskans can participate in a public task force meeting this Friday in Juneau or via teleconference. On the agenda – a U.S. Department of Energy grant program that moves mariculture into the microalgae biofuel sector.

Mariculture meeting, Feb. 17, 8am (AK Time)
Teleconference number:  1-800-315-6338/Access code 29660
Receive ongoing information by email at the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game home page.
Check out our podcast with Barbara Blake on the AK Fish Radio home page!  


Puppy Love salmon treats come home to Seldovia

Seldovia, Alaska
Credit: AK Tour & Travel

February 10, 2017


It’s taken four years but a pet treat business will soon open its doors in Seldovia, a town of less than 300 people at the tip of the Kenai Peninsula. Here comes Puppy Love salmon treats – formerly made in Anchorage; now coming home.

“The goal was always to come to Seldovia. Because it’s a value added product, it’s not like we’re processing and putting on ice and shipping it across the bay. We’re making it here and packaging it here and we can palletize it and ship it at a cost that makes sense business-wise.”  

Brendan Bieri is COO of Seldovia Wild Seafood. He and his father, Michel, originally from France and a trained chef, created a special smoked jerky recipe for the dog treats made from minced salmon.

“Michel is a great cook because he’s got such a background in food chemistry.  We made our own thing and we are really proud of what we make.”  

The Puppy Love line includes three items: jerky treats, trainers and sticks.

“It’s all smoked salmon, shelf stable; you don’t need to freeze it. Just keep it on the counter and it’s good to go.”  

The treats so far are sold at several feed and pet stores in Anchorage, as well as boutique shops and on line.  Bieri says they have interest from buyers in the US, Europe and Asia. The focus now, though, is getting the new plant operational to ramp up production.

“What we’re focused on now, since we’ve moved from Anchorage to Seldovia, is getting a plant ready and getting all the certifications we need for the mass market.”

Seldovia Wild also will shift from buying its salmon from large processors to buying directly from local fishermen. The company plans to put at least 10 people to work when it’s up and running.

Bieri says dog treats are a $2 billion dollar business and they hope to bring a small portion of it to Seldovia.  Bieri says the Puppy Love line is as much about promoting Seldovia as selling the treats.

“We’re not only promoting Seldovia with our product, which is an area that we really want to get real excitement about again. “

Find the Puppy Love treats at