Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Atka Pride Seafoods Plant Will Open Early in Aleutians

The Atka Pride Seafoods processing facility, a joint venture of APICDA Joint Ventures, Inc. and the Atka Fishermen’s Association, will open April 27, closely paralleling the anticipated seasonal closure date of Icicle Seafood’s Adak facility.

APICDA Joint Ventures, a wholly owned for-profit subsidiary of the Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association, made the announcement March 6.

Icicle Seafoods did not respond to repeated requests for information about whether its Adak plant would operate this summer, but industry sources said that the company’s plant manager told the Adak City Council earlier that the plant would not operate this summer because generating power is too expensive during the slower fishing months.

Atka Pride Seafoods is a joint venture between APICDA Joint Ventures Inc., and the Atka Fishermen’s Association, a non-profit local fishermen’s association.

John Sevier, APICDA’s chief operating officer, said the community development association is pleased to have the Atka plant open early this year.

“This will allow us to get an earlier than usual jump on the season, particularly for sablefish,” Sevier said. “And it will provide continued local markets for fishermen currently delivering to Adak so they don’t have to make the long run to Dutch Harbor.”

Larry Cotter, chief executive officer of APICDA, said he did not know what the impact of Icicle’s Adak plant closure would be on the Atka Pride Seafoods facility.

“It will be interesting to see,” Cotter said. “We are interested in getting as much seafood as we can.”
The Atka Pride Seafoods’ facilities is at Atka, some 100 miles east of Adak and 360 miles west of Unalaska/Dutch Harbor. The Atka plant employs about 20 to 25 people, mostly local.

Sevier is urging fishermen who wish to deliver to Atka Pride Seafoods to call him or Ken Smith at 907-771-4200. It will be important for fishermen interested in delivering to Atka to work with the company to ensure their needs are addressed in advance, Sevier said.

Atka Pride Seafoods was formed in 1994. Initially a small plant focused on processing the local halibut CDQ quota held by Atka residents, the plant has expanded over the past few decades and now buys and processes halibut and sablefish CDQ and individual fishing quota and Pacific cod.

Two years ago a $4 million plant expansion was completed, and last year a new $1.5 million dock to deep water was constructed. Plans are being developed now to construct a new bunkhouse and substantially expand the processing and storage capacity of the plant in 2014. When the expansion project is complete, the plant will operate on a year round basis.

Both APICDA Joint Ventures and the Atxam Corp, the local Alaska Native village corporation, own golden king crab processor quota shares, and plan to process that crab in the facility when the expansion project is completed.

Icicle Seafoods, a large, diversified seafood company, has a core business in processing wild salmon, pollock, crab, halibut, cod, sablefish and herring in fisheries throughout Alaska.

Headquartered in Seattle, Icicle is owned by investment funds managed by Paine & Partners LLC, a New York, Chicago and San Francisco based private equity fund.

Paine & Partners focuses on the food and agribusiness industry globally, and its principals, through a predecessor fund. While Icicle has declined to speak about the decision not to operate the Adak plant this summer, industry insiders are speculating that investors in Paine & Partners’ private equity fund have been less than satisfied with their financial gain from Icicle’s efforts.

FN Online Advertising