Monday afternoon Trident Seafoods announced it intended to complete the purchase of the Western Alaska Fisheries cannery in Kodiak by the end of the month. The Western plant is owned by Westward Seafoods, a subsidiary of Maruha-Nichiro of Japan.
Trident CEO Joe Bundrant was in town this week along with his father, company founder Chuck and several company officials preparing for the purchase. He said buying Western’s Kodiak property will allow for Trident to expand its processing capacity for cod, pollock, salmon and other species.
“We’re just committed to this community. And I think we have a good, solid footprint here to process the many species that come out of the Gulf of Alaska. And we’re just well-positioned for the future.”
Part of Trident’s expansion in Kodiak includes the purchase last year, and tearing down this year, of the small Alaska Fresh Seafood , which is next door to the company’s existing plant, which is largely in a beached World War II Liberty Ship.
“If you drive down, you can see it’s a big hole in the ground. We plan to build a nice-size freezer facility there. In the past several years I think Trident has received some not-so flattering feedback that we’ve been tendering fish out of the Gulf of Alaska into Akutan, another facility we have, and we intend to process that fish here in Kodiak going forward. And when the opportunity to buy our next door neighbor, Alaska Fresh, last year, became available we seized that opportunity.”
Bundrant said Trident human resources personnel were in town now, helping Western employees make the transfer to Trident.
Another move for employees was the purchase last of the Kodiak Plaza, a three-building apartment complex a block from their plant in the heart of downtown. The company is turning the buildings into bunkhouses and a 24-hour-a-day mess hall for its workers.
“The demographics in Kodiak are certainly changing. In all of our other operations in Alaska we do provide housing. Room and board is taken care of. We do laundry for everyone. With the demographics changing here in Kodiak, we saw a need to provide additional housing and bring in a workforce. And that’s why we invested in the Kodiak Plaza.”
Bundrant declined to disclose a purchase price for the property acquisitions, saying that as a privately-held company, they like to keep those details private. Kodiak is the smaller of Westward Seafoods two plants, processing 45-million pounds of pollock, cod, halibut and salmon. Its Dutch harbor plant processes 245-million pounds of various bottomfish and crab.