Monday, June 21, 2010

Coastal Villages reorganizes its salmon operations

Here's an interesting news item I wrote for the June issue of Pacific Fishing magazine:

Coastal Villages Region Fund is revamping its processing operations for the upcoming salmon season.

Instead of running two processing plants at Quinhagak and Platinum, the company will consolidate its fish processing in the newer Platinum plant. Quinhagak, meantime, will serve as a buying and icing station.

"The fishermen won't notice any difference," said Trevor McCabe, operations director for Coastal.

Fishermen will be able to deliver their predominantly chum salmon catches dockside at Quinhagak, or to tenders there. The fish then will be hauled south to the Platinum plant, which has a daily freezing capacity of 150,000 pounds.

By consolidating into one plant, Coastal expects to employ 10 to 20 percent fewer processing hands this year compared to last, when nearly 300 were on the payroll. But the company feels the changes are prudent to maintain regional salmon and halibut operations supporting 1,500 fishermen, processors and others, McCabe said.

Coastal is one of six Alaska companies holding catch rights to Bering Sea groundfish and crab under the federal Community Development Quota program. Coastal represents 20 villages in the Kuskokwim River region and uses its substantial pollock revenue to pay for such projects as the $35 million fish plant at Platinum.

The plant opened in July 2009.

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