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Trident Seafoods announced a few hours ago that it has reassessed its 2024 plans to begin construction of a new processing plant in Unalaska, Alaska, to start in 2025. Hence, this deviation from the original plan, initially projected to be realized in 3 years, would result in the plant potentially becoming operational no earlier than 2028.
This decision is based on several market factors that, as the company described, are “an unprecedented confluence.” High inventory levels, low consumer demand, and aggressive price competition in global markets have driven down prices across all species, combined with persistently upward pressure from high global inflation and rising prices.
“I have never seen markets like this,” said Trident CEO, Joe Bundrant. “The rate and pace at which markets are collapsing across our key species is staggering. Not only are global inventories and operating costs high, but demand is low, and some are selling at or below cost just to generate cash.”
Alaska yes, but not now
Trident has many years of experience under its belt and pointed to a strong track record of world-leading fisheries management practices in the Alaska region as the fundamental reason the company remains committed to investing in the area. However, in today’s global marketplace, Alaska’s competitive advantages are being outweighed.
“Our current plant in Akutan has served everyone well since the 1980s,” said Vice President of Alaska Operations, Jeff Welbourn. “Wear and tear over the years and a remote and harsh environment make maintaining the plant for the long run no longer feasible. We have designed a next-generation processing plant to deliver the operating efficiencies and value our fishermen and markets deserve from Alaska’s world-class fisheries.” The upcoming facility is set to be located in Captain’s Bay, Unalaska, incorporating cutting-edge equipment and processing methods. These advancements align with the company’s zero-waste goal and maximize the value extracted from each fish.
Stefanie Moreland, EVP of Public Affairs, affirmed delaying the project start hasn’t changed the strategy. In this regard, they are closely collaborating with Akutan to mitigate the effects of Trident’s eventual transition to Unalaska.
The industry needs support beyond the industry
Moreland noted that while the company swiftly adapted to market conditions, the industry requires governmental changes too. “Current U.S. trade policy and domestic programs for seafood are failing domestic producers at this critical time. We can not continue investing in the improvements necessary to modernize our sector when foreign supply chains with low regulatory standards and no meaningful oversight have equal or better positioning with respect to the tariff and non-tariff market barriers we face in global markets.”
About Trident Seafoods
Trident Seafoods stands out as the largest vertically integrated seafood harvesting and processing company in North America. The company operates with 100% USA ownership and a global presence across 6 countries, serving customers in over 50 countries. Headquartered in Seattle, Washington (USA), Trident employs approximately 9,000 individuals worldwide annually, collaborating with more than 5,400 independent fishermen. The company’s expertise covers a wide range of species, including salmon, whitefish, and crab from the North Pacific and Alaska. Furthermore, they also sourcing from a trusted network of global partners, encompassing both cultured and wild varieties.
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