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Silver Bay opening new Alaska processing plant

Plant expected to be ready for 2019 salmon season.

Silver Bay Seafoods is building a new processing plant in False Pass, Alaska, that it expects will be open in time for next year's salmon season. In addition to salmon, pollock and cod will also be processed at the facility, Larsen Mettler, CFO of Silver Bay, told IntraFish.

The plant is being built by the Fisher Construction Group, based in Burlington, Washington, and is situated on more than 10 acres of land leased from the Isanotski native corporation.

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The facility will be located next to the Bering Pacific Seafoods (BPS) plant, which is jointly owned by Trident Seafoods and Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association (APICDA). Seafood processor Peter Pan Seafoods also has ancillary operations in False Pass.

BPS built its plant in 2008, and in 2014 invested $14.7 million (€12.5 million) in an expansion. It processes salmon, halibut, and sablefish in H&G and fillet product forms, but the focus is salmon.

Mettler declined to divulge how much the new facility is expected to cost or what level of automation it would include, but did say the frame for the structure is now complete.

The facility, he said, fits in nicely with Silver Bay's other plants. The company has facilities in Naknek, Valdez, Sitka, Craig and operates the Annette Island Packing facility Metlakatla.

"It will be good geographically when you look at it," he said. "If there is a huge run in Bristol Bay, for example, it will be easier to run overflow there than to send the fish to Valdez."

And the area has also seen stronger salmon runs the past couple years, he said. "We think there is a good group of fishermen [there] who are probably underrepresented."

The plant is expected to operate year-round, and the company is in the process of hiring staff for the facility.

In 2016, Silver Bay opened a new 70,000 square foot plant in Valdez, Alaska.

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