Trident Seafoods completes sale of Petersburg facility to EC Phillips & Son

A Trident Seafoods processing worker
A Trident Seafoods processing worker | Photo courtesy of Trident Seafoods
4 Min

Ketchikan, Alaska, U.S.A.-based E.C. Phillips & Son has completed its purchase of a processing plant, bunkhouse, galley, and two housing units in Petersburg, Alaska, previously owned by Trident Seafoods.

The sale was completed on an accelerated schedule and closed on 1 April, a spokesperson for Trident confirmed to SeafoodSource. It further cements E.C. Phillips & Son’s year-round seafood-processing presence in Southeast Alaska, Trident Senior Vice President of Alaska Operations Jeff Welbourn said.

“We are very happy to see this plant in good hands,” Welbourn said. “Like the Petersburg community, E.C. Phillips is a multi-species operation with a diverse customer base. This means that the Petersburg plant could enjoy a longer season than it did under Trident’s banner, with an operator more focused on variety and direct distribution. This approach should set the Petersburg fleet up as a great hub in the Southeast region.”

On 13 March, Trident announced it was selling its Ketchikan processing facility to Silver Bay Seafoods. Trident said in December 2023 it was aiming to sell its Ketchikan, Kodiak, Petersburg, False Pass, and support facilities in Chignik as part of a strategic restructuring initiative. Trident Seafoods CEO Joe Bundrant said at the time he was looking for buyers “who share Trident’s values, will take great care of the fleet and employees, and will integrate themselves into the community.”

“We are pleased to announce that the Petersburg plant has officially transferred to its new owners!” Bundrant said in a press release. “E.C. Phillips & Son is a well-established family company with an almost 100-year history in the Alaska fishing industry. The company has an excellent reputation for quality and support, making it a great fit for Petersburg.”

In a 8 March update, Trident said it was close to finalizing sales of its Ketchikan, False Pass, and Petersburg plants. Welbourn confirmed Trident will still “provide a market for salmon season in Kodiak” in 2024, even if a deal for the Kodiak plant isn’t finalized by that time.

Other changes afoot in Alaska’s processing sector include the closure of Peter Pan Seafood’s King Cove plant for the 2024 “A” pollock season, which runs from January through April, and OBI Seafood’s decision not to open its processing plant in Larson Bay on Kodiak Island for the 2024 season, though it said it will still buy salmon from local harvesters.

The closures will accelerate a downward trend in Alaska seafood processing sector employment. In 2023, there were 149 seafood processing facilities, including eight floating processors, in operation in Alaska, mostly in the state’s Southwest, Gulf Coast, and Southeast regions, led by Kodiak with 17. Employment at those factories – which is largely seasonal – peaked in the summer of 2015 at 21,300 jobs, but by July 2023, that total had dropped by almost 3,000 jobs.

“Averaging job numbers over the full year gives a better sense of the activity across all types of processing, from salmon, groundfish, and halibut to herring and shellfish. Using that measure, processing employment reached its decade high in 2014 at more than 10,800. As of September 2023, the number was about 8,500,” Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development Research and Analysis Chief Dan Robinson wrote in “Alaska Economic Trends,” a state report issued in April 2024.

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