History of ComFish Alaska

ComFish Alaska is the only trade event held in a major fishing port.

 

ComFish has come a long way since its inception 33 years ago.

It has grown into Alaska’s longest running fisheries trade show, and is the only trade event held in a major fishing port – Kodiak.

ComFish began in 1980 by the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce as a marine trade fair. The next year, ComFish moved into the National Guard Armory. By 1986, ComFish moved to larger quarters provided by Alaska Transfer & Storage.

The event continued to grow and three years later, it was time for ComFish to find a bigger home. ComFish moved to one of the largest airplane hangars at the U.S Coast Guard Base in Kodiak.

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In 2002, ComFish expanded its focus beyond the trade show and added a Fisheries Forum component. Each Year, experts and policy makers come to Kodiak to address the changes, challenges and opportunities facing Alaska’s commercial fishing industry.

ComFish has also become famous as being the host of one of Alaska’s most unique political events. Starting in 1990, candidates vying for Alaska governor have come to ComFish to participate in a Gubernatorial Debate. There is only one catch – the candidates are limited to a single topic: Alaska’s seafood industry.

The “Goober Debate” marks the first time that all candidates gather together during an election year, and it always attracts tremendous media attention. The Debate has always drawn the full slate of candidates to appear in Kodiak. The two-hour event is broadcast live statewide via the Alaska Public Radio Network.

In 2004, Alaska candidates for the U.S. Senate also began participating fisheries debates at ComFish.In 2009, ComFish moved to its permanent home at the new Kodiak Convention Center located downtown right across from the harbor.