Dutch Harbor Acquisitions LLC, formed by Siu Alaska Corp. and Copper River Seafoods, is bracing for its first delivery of snow crab Sunday at new processing facilities at Dutch Harbor.
"Copper River Seafoods has employees on site now to assure that everything is up and running," said Scott Blake, company president, in a recent interview in Anchorage.
The facility, formerly owned by the now defunct Harbor Crown Seafood, in mid-January was in the midst of a $3 million-plus renovation process, Blake said.
As the renovation continued, the processing facility was prepared to begin processing Pacific cod on Jan. 15, Blake said.
For the present, the facility will be engaged in processing Pacific cod, black cod, halibut, crab and rockfish, but in the second phase of renovation will have expanded production and value added processing, he said.
The company's sales will be predominantly wholesale and go into domestic markets, although there are plans for export sales as well.
Siu Alaska Corp. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Norton Sound Economic Development Corp., a private, non-profit community development quota corporation representing 15 member communities in the Norton Sound region, including over 8,500 residents.
NSEDC owns quota for red king crab, snow crab and golden king crab, as well as halibut and sablefish individual fishing quota and CDQ quotes.
NSEDC and Siu also have ownership interests in a number of Bering Sea vessels, including Pollock at sea catcher processors, a cod freezer-longliner and crab vessels. NSEDC uses profits from these investments to provide support to the subsistence and commercial fisheries, education, employment and other economic development activities in the Norton Sound region.
Copper River Seafoods is participating in Dutch Harbor Acquisitions through Western Alaska Ventures LLC, a partnership between Copper River Seafoods, Stuart and Benett Kozloff, owners of International Seafood Ventures LLC, Seattle, and James Bonzalez, owner of Pacific Harvest Seafood, Bellevue, WA.
Copper River Seafoods is a significant producer of fin fish, primarily salmon, halibut and cod products, with five operating companies and plants in Alaska's Southeast, Central, Togiak and Bristol Bay regions.
"We are excited about the opportunity to expand into the Bering Sea and Aleutian chain regions with such strategic partners," Blake said.
Copper River Seafoods made a name for itself through processing of the state's Copper River sockeye and king salmon. Its promotions include an annual presence at the Boston Seafood Show every spring.
Blake said he is very optimistic about the future of his business "because the majority of our resources are managed very well and are healthy."
Copper River Seafoods itself has changed its perception from being production driven to consumer driven, he said. There is more focus on the quality of the resource when it goes to the consumer, and along with this emphasis, tremendous increases in efficiencies in production, he said.
"We've given the customers a more stable, consistent quality supply. We have the largest sustainable seafood resources in the world, but we can't become complacent," he said.
This article is republished here with permission from Alaska Newspapers, Inc.