Silver Bay Seafoods’ Abby Fredrick: current challenges in Alaska “an opportunity to strengthen our position”

Workers processing salmon in a Silver Bay Seafoods facility
The Alaska seafood industry struggled in 2023, but Silver Bay Seafoods views the downturn as an opportunity to expand its processing footprint | Photo courtesy of SIlver Bay Seafoods
6 Min

Alaska’s seafood processing sector is undergoing massive upheaval, but Silver Bay Seafoods sees the downturn as an opportunity, according to Abby Fredrick, the company's director of communications and investor relations.

The previous year has been a very difficult one for Alaska’s processing companies due to a downturn in seafood prices and higher costs. Trident Seafoods announced in December 2023 it was selling off a significant portion of its assets in Alaska and trimming its workforce by 10 percent, and Peter Pan Seafoods has faced a series of liens filed by Alaska fishermen and companies for unpaid deliveries of seafood.

While competitors have struggled, Silver Bay has moved to expand its processing footprint in the U.S. state in a big way via acquisitions of Trident Seafoods’ Ketchikan processing plant and taking over Peter Pan Seafoods’ facilities in Valdez, Port Moller, and Dillingham. That adds to the employee-owned company’s other processing assets in Valdez, Sitka, Craig, Valdez, Kodiak, False Pass, and Naknek.

“We are unique and different from other seafood companies in Alaska,” Fredrick said. “Silver Bay Seafoods is an integrated processor of frozen salmon, herring, whitefish, and squid products for domestic and export markets. It began in 2007 as a single salmon processing facility in Sitka, Alaska, when difficult market conditions inspired fishermen to invest in their own seafood processing operation. It was so successful that the fishermen ownership model spread to Prince William Sound, Kodiak, Alaska Peninsula, and Bristol Bay. Silver Bay is now owned by 600 fishers who supply the company’s state-of-the-art processing plants with wild-caught, sustainably harvested seafood that is sold to customers worldwide. The company has grown to one of the largest seafood companies in Alaska.”

Fredrick said Silver Bay’s unique approach has led it to invest back into the seafood industry during the downturn.

“With the seafood market downturn fishermen, processors, and communities are all feeling the impacts. While we aren’t facing different economic conditions than other companies, prioritizing fishermen opportunity was the primary driver in our decision to expand operations and to address concerns from fishermen across the state who were facing loss of markets in 2024,” she said. “We have taken into account our unique fishermen ownership structure, history, and focus, and developed our own approach to the current seafood industry challenges. Silver Bay views the current challenges as an opportunity to strengthen our position through thoughtful planning and strategic investment that will bring additional value to our fishermen partners, our workforce, and communities. Our expanded operations provide fishermen critical market opportunities, capacity, and services, and support product form diversity, increased throughput, and operational efficiencies that target economic benefits for our fishermen owners. In sum, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

According to Fredrick, Silver Bay is still in discussions with Peter Pan regarding a broader restructuring through which …

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