A new and much heralded addition to the freezer longline fleet working in Alaskan waters has been delivered to Alaskan Leader Fisheries LLC in Seattle, and is expected to be on duty in the Bering Sea by August.
In advance of the vessel’s christening in Seattle today, all of the Northern Leader’s Alaskan cod is already earmarked for distribution through a marketing partnership announced by Alaskan Leader Fisheries and Copper River Seafoods.
“The completion of the Northern Leader project represents the culmination of over three years of hard work and the commitment of many people,” said Robin Samuelsen, board chairman of Alaskan Leader Fisheries and Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp.
Nick Delaney, managing director of Alaskan Leader Fisheries, called the alliance, announced July 29, “a win for both companies. Copper River Seafoods gains access to the highest-quality hook-and-line caught Alaskan cod supply they need to meet customer demand and our company benefits from their strong customer relationships and domestic marketing expertise,” he said.
The alliance, said Scott Blake, president and chief executive officer of Copper River Seafoods, will allow Copper River Seafoods to offer its customers the highest quality whitefish along with world-famous salmon on a year-round basis, in quantities that will support high-volume programs.
Freezer longliners owned by Alaskan Leader Fisheries are a major source of sustainably harvested, frozen-at-sea, hook-and-line caught wild Alaskan cod, and the firm’s newest vessel, the Northern Leader, is the largest, most eco-friendly vessel in the North Pacific fishing fleet. Rob Wurm, chief executive officer of Alaskan Leader Fisheries, said the company is dedicating 100 percent of the Northern Leader’s cod to the marketing partnership with Copper River Seafoods, giving customers “total traceability and the benefits of the most modern and innovative quality controlled processing line.”
Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp., with offices in Dillingham and Anchorage, owns 50 percent of Alaskan Leader Fisheries.
The Northern Leader, to be home ported in Kodiak, is designed for service in longline fisheries of the North Pacific, Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands, targeting Alaskan cod, sablefish and other groundfish species. The vessel was delivered to Seattle in late June.
Many Pacific Northwest and international marine service providers were involved in the planning and construction of the vessel. From the builder, J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding, one of the oldest and most venerable West Coast shipyards, to Jensen Maritime Consultants, a Crowley owned leading naval architectural firm in Seattle, the building of the Northern Leader involved participation of over 100 companies and provided the job equivalency of over 200 employee-years to complete the vessel in Tacoma, Washington.