Fish processing plant reopens in Adak
Fish processing will return to Adak, according to city manager Layton Lockett.
Lockett said last month that the city is selling the processing equipment, purchased at the June 18 auction of the assets formerly owned by bankrupt Adak Seafood, LLC. The equipment will be owned by a newly-formed company, Adak Cod Cooperative, LLC. The new owners are former Bristol Bay salmon processors.
The city agreed to sell all of the assets purchased at the auction, except one piece of road maintenance heavy equipment, for $2.03 million. The sale includes various processing lines, cranes and freezing equipment necessary for the successful operation of the processing facility.
The city purchased the assets at an Anchorage auction with the sole intent of keeping the assets in place as a turnkey operation in order to facilitate the reopening of the plant for the January 2014 pacific cod "A" season.
City clerk Debra Sharrah said the Adak Cod Cooperative is owned by John Lorance and Joe Kelso, owners of Ekuk Fisheries, a Bristol Bay salmon processing plant located across Nushagak Bay from Dillingham. Previously, they owned Leader Creek Fisheries, another Bristol Bay salmon buyer, she said.
One other company had made a formal offer to run the plant, Trident Seafoods. That offer was rejected. Earlier, Aleut Corporation lobbyist said Trident tried to "drive a hard bargain" that was rejected by The Aleut Corporation, the owner of the fish processing building.
The successful operation of the processing facility significantly contributes to the city, the local and state economy through a variety of methods including but not limited to a local raw fish tax, fishery business and landing taxes paid to the State of Alaska, utilization of local services such as fuel and electricity, as well as contributing to the availability and utilization of regular transportation of goods and persons to the island.
The crisis started early this year when Icicle Seafoods announced the permanent closure of the plant that employed around 100 workers and was a major source of local revenues. Icicle operated in a huge military surplus waterfront building called the Blue Shed, owned by the regional Native corporation, The Aleut Corp., with equipment leased from a Rhode Island bank that had taken possession from a bankrupt former owner.
The City of Adak is the municipal government for Adak Island. Incorporated in 2001 as a second-class municipality, the city provides public services and seeks to improve the economy of Adak through participation in the area's fisheries as well as encourage the development and utilization of the existing infrastructure from the former Naval Air Station.