By Nathaniel Herz
Northern Journal 

Lease of Peter Pan Seafoods plants doesn't help King Cove


April 10, 2024

A troubled, state-backed seafood processing company, Peter Pan Seafoods, has announced that it’s pursuing a deal to sell its plants to another business. But the news still leaves a key asset, the massive plant in the Alaska Peninsula village of King Cove, in limbo for the summer salmon season.

Peter Pan also announced April 4 that it would lease two of its plants, in the Bristol Bay hub town of Dillingham and the remote Alaska Peninsula outpost of Port Moller, to Silver Bay Seafoods to operate for the summer.

The fate of all of Peter Pan’s plants had been cast into doubt in recent weeks amid unpaid financial claims against the company and news that some of its fishermen and support vessels were defecting to other processing businesses.

Residents of King Cove, where the Peter Pan plant is responsible for roughly half of the local government’s general fund revenue, were especially concerned, given that the company had already shuttered the facility during the winter fishing season.

The Alaska Permanent Fund, through an in-state investment manager, holds an undisclosed stake in Peter Pan Seafoods.

A three-page statement, issued jointly by Peter Pan and Silver Bay, announced the summer leasing plans only for the Dillingham and Port Moller plants — not for the King Cove plant — along with a previously reported sale to Silver Bay of Peter Pan’s plant in Valdez.

The statement also said that a “larger restructuring, still being finalized,” would see Silver Bay buy Peter Pan’s “processing facilities and support sites” once the salmon season ends.

While the King Cove plant remains owned by Peter Pan, a company spokeswoman, Jennifer Thompson, referred questions about the plans for the facility’s summer salmon operations to Silver Bay.

A Silver Bay spokeswoman, Abby Fredrick, said her company does not plan to operate the King Cove plant this summer.

Alaska’s fishing industry has been buffeted by flagging demand and low prices for multiple species of fish in the past year, including for staples like salmon and pollock.

Silver Bay, founded in 2007, has been a growing player in the seafood processing business, and adding Peter Pan’s last three plants to its current portfolio of six would amount to a major expansion.

This article was originally published in the Northern Journal, a newsletter from Alaska journalist Nathaniel Herz.


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