Damage caused by an Alaska state ferry hitting processor facilities at Petersburg has prompted Ocean Beauty Seafoods to close its processing facilities at Petersburg for the season, although harvesters will find access to ice, administrative services and fishing tenders available as usual. Ocean Beauty’s vice president of Alaska operations, Jon Black, said June 5 that Ocean Beauty has a pretty good idea of the extent of damage caused when the ferry Matanuska hit the processing plant on May 7, but that a comprehensive assessment will take some time.
“Until we can absolutely guarantee that the working environment is safe, and that we are not at risk with any regulatory issues, there’s no way we can operate fish processing here,” he said.
Due to an anticipated lower run of pink salmon this season, Ocean Beauty had planned to have more 200 workers at the Petersburg plant to process mainly pink and chum salmon.
The company has made arrangements to process at its Excursion Inlet facility the fish that would have been processed at Petersburg. In addition, arrangements have been made for custom processing at other Southeast Alaska processing facilities.
Ocean Beauty has six shoreside plants in Alaska, as well as two value-added plants in Washington State, eight distribution facilities in the western United States, and sales offices in Seattle and Tokyo.
The company said the state of Alaska has done everything in its power to help Ocean Beauty get operational at Petersburg as soon as practically possible, and that the city of Petersburg had also been helpful in facilitating resources.