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Peter Pan Suspends Summer and Winter Production Indefinitely

The-Bering-Sea-300x142Peter Pan Seafood’s future has been uncertain since January when the company disclosed plans to shutter its King Cove facility for the winter fishing seasons of cod, whitefish, and crab. Today, the company has officially announced it will “suspend operations at its processing facilities, ceasing both summer and winter production cycles indefinitely.”

The cessation of operations follows shortly after Peter Pan finalized an agreement with Silver Bay Seafoods. Silver Bay has officially acquired Peter Pan’s Valdez processing plant and will oversee the operations of Peter Pan’s facilities in Port Moller and Dillingham for the upcoming season.

The agreement raised numerous industry concerns, particularly regarding the future of the King Cove plant. Moreover, uncertainty lingers around the fate of the Port Moller and Dillingham facilities, with Silver Bay’s commitment limited to operating them for the upcoming “2024 salmon season.”

King Cove stands as Peter Pan’s primary processing facility in Alaska. Situated 600 air miles away from Anchorage, this year-round plant specializes in processing a variety of seafood, including king crab, bairdi and opilio crab, pollock, cod, salmon, halibut, and black cod. Additionally, it holds the distinction of possessing the largest salmon canning capacity among all plants in Alaska. During the busy winter and summer seasons, the plant staffs nearly 500 individuals.

The Port Moller facility, recognized as Peter Pan’s most remote plant, functioned from May to September. Its main focus was sockeye salmon processing, alongside smaller quantities of king, coho, and chum salmon. Overall, the plant had the capacity to handle approximately 250,000 lbs. of salmon daily, encompassing frozen headed and gutted, fillets, salted fillets, and salted salmon eggs. Throughout the peak production period, the facility retained 140 individuals.

In the meantime, the Dillingham plant stood as Peter Pan’s oldest facility. Operating from April to August, it processed a diverse range of salmon, from fresh and frozen to canned products. About 320 individuals were employed at this facility.

“Efforts are underway to facilitate a smooth transition,” Peter Pan shared on Facebook Friday evening. “For individuals who have worked or are working with Peter Pan Seafood as processors and are in search of job opportunities, we urge you to submit your application to Silver Bay Seafoods.”

Workers at those plants aren’t the only ones facing uncertainty. Fishermen must now seek alternative options, raising concerns that some boats may struggle to find markets.The situation is compounded by the fate of other facilities in Alaska. Trident has put some of its plants up for sale, adding to the apprehension. Earlier this month, the company completed the sale of its Petersburg facility to E.C. Phillips & Son, just ahead of the salmon season in Alaska. Trident has been transparent about its efforts to minimize the impact on the fleet, employees, and communities during the sales process.

However, deals for its three remaining plants have yet to be finalized. Silver Bay Seafoods is reportedly interested in acquiring Trident’s Ketchikan processing plant, and Trident has stated it’s in the “final stages” of selling its False Pass plant. Additionally, there is reported interest from “multiple” parties in Trident’s Kodiak plant. We will keep readers updated as these changes unfold.

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