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Peter Pan's freshly rebuilt salmon plant significantly expands value-added capabilities

Damaged by fire in 2017, the new plant's upgrades are a big step forward.

Seattle-based Peter Pan Seafoods' newly rebuilt processing plant in Port Moller, Alaska, is now fully operational less than two years after a devastating fire at the facility, company CEO Barry Collier told IntraFish.

The new plant is expected to increase daily throughput as well as boost the production of value-added products, particularly fillets, Gary Johnson, the plant's manager, told IntraFish. "We're attempting to double production with the same number of people," he said.

The overall footprint of the new plant is 42,000 square feet: 19,000 for the main processing area and 13,000 for the cold storage.

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In addition, there is a mezzanine over the main processing area of 10,000 square feet that contains offices and a value-added processing area. There is also a 5,000-square-foot power plant and refrigeration equipment building adjacent to the plant.

The new facility represents a big step forward for the company. The previous Port Moller plant was built in 1978 and last updated in 1985 and, therefore, lacked much of the technology and automation that are part of the new facility.

"Our freezing capacity that we've installed here should allow us to do half-a-million round pounds a day, essentially double what the old plant was doing," Johnson said.

The new facility has two fillet lines set up for producing value-added products, and a third line is expected to come online next year. The plant will produce vac-pack fillets and some IQF that will be portioned.

"We're known for high quality. Our fillets are well known and well respected out there," said Johnson.

The new plant also includes ergonomic conveyors that move product through the facility and into a blast freezer. "It's a straight flow of fish coming in and fish going out," said Johnson, who has worked for Peter Pan for 35 years, 25 of those years at the Port Moller plant.

Peter Pan's Port Moller facility was heavily damaged by a fire in the fall of 2017 that consumed most of its production facilities. Reconstruction of the plant began last July.

Early next week the company will start training employees on the plant's new processing equipment, but there won't be time for a grand opening celebration.

"We're just going to ease our way into it. Probably there will be a lot of tweaking and training to do," Johnson said.

a8006791e1f6aa8d393f02b78fabdb42 Before: A look at what was left of Peter Pan's Port Moller, Alaska, plant after a fire in 2017. Photo: Peter Pan
667f1e5fed8b1a887dac48daef8a6e24 After: And here is how the plant looks today, fully rebuilt and ready for the 2019 salmon season. Photo: Peter Pan
e475c0103c3a80b2a6dd7f9f388b0a87 The first step was to set the pilings for the new dock. Photo: Peter Pan
eacce90765433dae31a8c9603f91f0c5 The dock is taking shape. Photo: Peter Pan
b3a5157b4832668392716d1e9a676378 In July, 2018, The power house and refrigeration building framing was underway. Photo: Peter Pan
785d0d6f9c0be910cd0c6f4edf74bbf1 In September, the walls, beams and trusses of the main structure were in place. Photo: Peter Pan

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