A little more than a year ago, The University of Alaska’s Fishery Industrial Technology Center on Near Island lost its director. In December, Paula Cullenberg, the program leader of the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, was appointed interim director of the Fish Tech Center. Around this same time, the university began a major program review of the center that has led to some changes in how the center will operate this fall.
A task force of university and seafood industry personnel was put together and, over the course of five months, looked at what was going on at the center and whether or not it was serving industry and connecting with the university and community of Kodiak.
— (Fish Tech 1: :27 sec "From the university’s perspective … was all about.")
Cullenberg said the committee found that a lot was going on at the Fish Tech Center, but not a lot of people knew about it.
— (Fish Tech 2: :40 sec "There is and has been a lot … were some of the big findings.")
The review findings lead the university to expand the Fish Tech Center’s role in the school, community and also the seafood industry. One of the ways they are doing that is by offering distance learning classes to students all over the state via video conferencing.
— (Fish Tech 3: :42 sec "And because of our connection … to aquaculture.")
Cullenberg said in addition to offering more opportunities for university students, the center is also working in collaboration with Kodiak High School to offer a seafood science course this fall.
— (Fish Tech 4: :51 sec "Ya there’s a high school teacher … that sort of thing.")
The center plans to continue the brown bag lunch series and monthly activities updates for the community, along with possibly offering short courses for fishermen and community members.
Cullenberg said that like any university, UAF struggles with finding funding for the research and programs at the Fish Tech Center. The United States Department of Agriculture is one of the primary sources of funding, but she said they typically don’t fund research for wild salmon.
— (Fish Tech 5: :36 sec "They are really only interested in … used in aquaculture.")
She said all the other research on seafood still struggles for funding and the university must continually seek creative sources to ensure important research is getting done.