Michael Morrissey samples an oyster shooter made through a process the OSU Seafood Laboratory helped develop. Photo: Lynn Ketchum, OSU Extension and Experiment Station Communications
The Oregon State University Seafood Laboratory at Astoria has been working since 1940 to meet the needs of Oregon’s coastal communities and seafood industry through research and development, extension education to the fishing industry, and graduate research, training, and instruction.
In the past 12 years, the Seafood Lab, which is well known for its international surimi school, has received more than $8 million in research grants from federal and state agencies and private industry.
The latest venture is the Community Seafood Initiative, a partnership among industry, research, community development organizations, and business financing to strengthen coastal communities and the seafood industry by enhancing the value of products through product development; research, technology, and education; and business marketing and capital.
“This is a unique and appropriate model for a university partnership,” says Michael Morrissey, director of the Seafood Laboratory. “It’s been running about a year now, and it’s pretty exciting.”
Using a multidisciplinary team of experienced professionals in food science, economics, markets, outreach and extension, community development lending, rural development, consumer behavior, and resource management, the partnership is initially focusing on new technologies such as high-pressure processing and value-added products for oysters and albacore tuna.
Partnering with the Seafood Laboratory are the Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station in Newport; the Duncan Law Seafood Consumer Center in Astoria; Oregon Sea Grant Extension; and ShoreBank Enterprise Pacific, a nonprofit community development finance institution in Ilwaco, Washington.
“Our goal is to help small and midsize businesses find ways of expanding, finding niche markets, and becoming entrepreneurial in developing new products,” says Morrissey, who was selected by Oregon Business magazine in 2003 as one of the Top-50 Great Leaders in Oregon.
“In the fishing and seafood business, you have to see opportunities and act quickly,” Morrissey says. That’s where the OSU Seafood Laboratory and the Community Seafood Initiative step in.