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Ocean Beauty won't can salmon in Petersburg in 2017

by Aasgard Summit

Ocean Beauty Seafoods will shutter its salmon canning plant in Petersburg, Alaska for 2017, because of large inventories and higher prices for frozen salmon, reports KFSK Community Radio.   Icicle Seafoods will be the only salmon cannery operating in Petersburg this summer.

Tom Sunderland, vice president of Ocean Beauty marketing, says current market conditions favor selling frozen salmon over canned. “We’re gonna make a lot more money selling frozen salmon than canned salmon this year and the Petersburg plant is essentially a cannery,” Sunderland explained. “It doesn’t have a very large or efficient freezing operation, certainly not enough that you could run it just as a freezing operation. Our plant at Excursion Inlet on the other hand does have substantial freezing capacity and we can move that production over there and take care of that.  And by doing so, the hope is we can return the highest value to the fleet by putting the product into its most lucrative product form.”  Ocean Beauty’s office will remian open in Petersburg and the company will still be providing support for its fishing fleet as well as buying fish in the area.

Icicle Seafoods, the town’s largest processor, does plan to can salmon in Petersburg this summer. Patrick Wilson, the company’s Petersburg Fisheries plant manager said, “Hopefully we will get enough to can and keep the cold storage busy.” Wilson recognized that the industry is changing focus to more frozen product. Low pink returns last summer statewide impacted the industry and Wilson is hoping for a better return this year. State and federal scientists are forecasting a harvest of around 43-46 million pinks in Southeast in 2017. Last year's catch in the region was around 18 million.

Read the entire article at http://www.kfsk.org/2017/02/07/ocean-beauty-wont-can-salmon-in-petersburg-in-2017/

Joe Viechnicki,  KFSK 

February 7, 2017

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