On Wednesday, January 31st, 2024, OBI Seafoods verified that the Larsen Bay facility on Kodiak Island will remain closed for the 2024 salmon season. John Hanrahan, the CEO of OBI Seafoods, stated that operations will cease at the Larsen Bay plant due to the “poor pink salmon forecast” from Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) as well as challenging market conditions for salmon products.
In November 2023, John Hanrahan was promoted to CEO from his previous position as Chief Operating Officer overseeing sales and marketing. He succeeded Mark Palmer after his retirement.
OBI Seafoods, based in Seattle, Washington, was established in 2020 following the merger of Ocean Beauty Seafoods and Icicle Seafoods. This strategic merger created an entity with a more competitive edge against competitors Trident Seafoods and Silver Bay Seafoods. OBI Seafoods has since become a prominent participant in Alaska’s salmon fishery.
However, its operational footprint will shrink in 2024, as the company will not operate its Larsen Bay plant during the pending salmon season. Instead, it will process salmon harvested near Kodiak Island at its facility in Kodiak town.
“The Kodiak town plant operates year-round and has the ability to process salmon in a greater diversity of product forms, making it better suited to respond to salmon markets in 2024 as we navigate this challenging time for the industry,” Hanrahan said.
“Capacity should not be an issue, with OBI Seafoods Seward and Cordova facilities able to support Kodiak during the peak of the season in August,” the company said in a January 31st, 2024, statement.
This is yet another blow to the Alaska fishing industry following the closure of the Peter Pan Seafood processing facility in King Cove, Alaska for the 2024 “A” pollock season in mid-January as well as the Trident Seafoods announcement in December 2023 that it plans to sell a substantial portion of its assets in Alaska and reduce its workforce by 10 percent. Trident recently put the Diamond NN South Naknek Cannery up for sale for $1 million.
OBI Seafoods runs ten processing plants across Alaska, where they process fresh, frozen, and canned seafood. Hanrahan expressed his firm commitment to reopen the Larsen Bay facility for the 2025 salmon season. Until then, they plan to use the facility as a fleet services provider as the plant is situated near the west side of island fishing areas.