Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Ocean Beauty Will Reopen Petersburg Plant in July

Ocean Beauty Seafoods’ refurbished plant at Petersburg, in Southeast Alaska, will reopen this summer to process harvest pink and chum harvests in what is anticipated to be a season of great abundance for pink salmon.

“We are really, really excited about that,” Tom Sunderland, spokesman for Ocean Beauty in Seattle, said March 5.

The plant will open in July and usually remains open through August. “It’s a very efficient cannery,” Sunderland said. It is set up to do H&G (heading and gutting), roe processing and canning.”

The plant had been closed for the 2011 season because of low fish production and then again for the 2012 season after an Alaska state ferry rammed the dock.

Facilities there have been repaired and upgraded in the aftermath of the May 7, 2012 incident when the ferry Matanuska plowed into Ocean Beauty’s dock, resulting in considerable damage.

The damage was significant, said Sunderland. “We had to replace four pilings and we did a bunch of work on the building. The lucky part was it hit near the freezing area, but did not hit it, so there was no ammonia leak. We’ve repaired everything and put in a new pump and floating dock” for boats delivering to Ocean Beauty, he said. “We were able to make some improvements to the plant along the way, including an improved pumping system.”

The Petersburg plant processes mainly pink and chum salmon, and coho salmon will likely be run up to the company’s plant at Excursion Inlet by Glacier Bay, he said.

The statewide projected harvest for humpies alone is 117.8 million fish, 73 percent higher than the projected harvest a year ago. The projected statewide chum harvest of 22.7 million fish is also anticipated to be 1 percent higher than in 2012.

Ocean Beauty is a diversified company, with operations at 16 locations worldwide, operating in the major salmon producing regions of Alaska. These include Bristol Bay , Kodiak Island, Cook Inlet, Copper River and throughout Southeast Alaska.

The Kodiak plant operates year round, processing salmon, crab, cod, pollock, rockfish and other fish. The other plants are seasonal.

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