In its 41st year, Kodiak’s annual fishing trade show ComFish Alaska has been postponed due to concerns over the new coronavirus, or COVID-19.
In light of Gov. Michael Dunleavy’s state of emergency declaration on Wednesday, the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce ComFish Committee has decided to delay ComFish Alaska 2020 until Sept. 17-19.
“We look forward to welcoming all our exhibitors, speakers and attendees to the Convention Center, Fishermen’s Hall and Best Western Harbor Room in September,” Sarah Phillips, executive director of the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce, wrote in a statement.
As of Thursday, more than 40 vendors had been planning to attend the event.
“We didn't want the show to be compromised in any capacity,” Phillips said. “We didn’t want people to have to make the choice to drop a week or two out.”
The committee chose September for the rescheduled event because it had the least amount of fisheries open and was far enough in advance from Seattle’s Pacific Marine Expo, a trade show held in November each year.
“We wanted to make sure that it wasn't too close to Pacific Marine Expo, and had to make sure that our vendors, decorators and staff are still all available during that time too,” Phillips said.
Phillips noted that while most vendors were dedicated to attending ComFish, several of them, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, had to drop out because of restricted travel imposed by their particular organizations.
This year’s ComFish theme “Sea What Matters” aims to bring to the forefront issues important to fishermen and the community, such as safety, climate change, technology and scientific research.
“That is why we considered rescheduling ComFish. What matters is definitely the health of the community both economically and physically,” Phillips said.
Up-to-date information on this year’s ComFish event and access to the show’s forums will be posted online at ComFishAK.com.