UAF’s Crapo earns international acclaim

A career spent gutting, grinding, mincing and preparing all manner of seafood in a quest to help the Alaska seafood industry develop innovative new seafood products and healthier, more efficient processing methods, would seem a thankless task.

For Chuck Crapo, an Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program seafood scientist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, those decades of toil and commitment were recently rewarded.

Crapo’s peers from around the world recently named him recipient of the 2009 Earl P. McFee award, given by the Atlantic Fisheries Technology Conference. The award was bestowed recently in Copenhagen, Denmark, during the 3rd Joint Trans-Atlantic Fisheries Technology Conference. Crapo did not attend the ceremony, but was given the award last week in Bethel during the Marine Advisory Program’s annual meeting.

“The selection of Dr. Crapo was unanimous, and given for his commitment to seafood science and technology transfer to the public and industry, and for his dedication to the industry that shined above the rest of this year’s nominees,” said Pamela Tom, a seafood scientist at the University of California Davis, and director of the Seafood Network Information Center at the California Sea Grant Extension Program.

The Earl P. McFee award was established in 1971 and is presented annually at the Atlantic Fisheries Technology Conference. The award is presented to the person who has demonstrated outstanding and extraordinary qualifications, experience and contributions in the field of seafood science and technology.

“I’m really happy to have this award,” said Crapo from his office at the UAF Fishery Industrial Technology Center in Kodiak. “It’s truly an honor to be recognized by my peers for the work I do with the Alaska fishing and seafood industry.”

A former seafood product quality control manager, Crapo joined the university in 1983. He has helped the industry develop new products and improve quality standards for Alaska-caught seafood. He also trained thousands of seafood workers to meet state and federal standards for seafood safety and quality.

Earl P. McFee was VP and director of research and development at Gorton’s Corp., at the time of his retirement in 1968, after 30 years of service. He is credited with standardizing the frozen fish block; developing techniques in tempering, slicing and thawing of fish blocks; and development of the breaded fish portions and fish sticks. He also worked to improve quality and sanitation practices for the seafood industry.

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