Trident Seafoods is acquiring the 300-foot at-sea processor C/P Starbound from Aleutian Spray Fisheries Inc. for use in its wild Alaska Pollock fishery, the two seafood firms have confirmed.
Modernizing Trident’s aging fleet of catcher processors has been a priority for some time, and the Starbound “aligns perfectly with Trident’s values and vision,” Trident CEO Joe Bundrant said.
“With this investment, we improve our efficiency and environmental performance in our continuous effort to better utilize wild Alaska Pollock and Pacific whiting resources, while keeping constant focus on health of fish stocks and the role we play in protecting our natural environment.”
Bundrant said that Trident and Aleutian Spray, both family-owned companies, share a commitment to annually invest in fisheries and ecosystem research to boost knowledge about the Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea, in recognition of their stewardship responsibilities.
The Starbound, as built in 1989, was a 240-foot factory trawler for use in the Bering Sea. In 2015, the vessel underwent a $45-million renovation that involved slicing it down the middle and welding in a 60-foot addition, which added state-of-the-art processing capacity to allow for full utilization of every Pollock harvested.
In addition to fillets, the Starbound produces a variety of other seafood items, including fish meal and fish oil, some of which is used as a renewable fuel on the ship.
The announcement on Dec. 6 also acknowledged the Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association (APICDA) and Bratvoid Fisheries Inc., which were partners with Aleutian Spray Fisheries in ownership of the Starbound. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“As multi-generational, family companies, we both understand the importance of making meaningful, long-term investments,” said Aleutian Spray President Chris Swasand. “Starbound represents the kind of continuous innovation that secures the health of both fish populations and fishing families well into the future.”
The acquisition also includes Aleutian Spray’s F/V Ocean Harvester and F/V Muir Milach, which Trident is adding to its fleet of Bering Sea and Pacific whiting catcher vessels.
The community development association has said that it plans to continue partnering with Trident in harvesting Pollock.
Trident Seafoods is the largest vertically integrated seafood harvesting and processing company in North America, employing over 8,000 people and working with hundreds of independent harvesters in Alaska annually. Trident serves markets in over 50 countries with wild Alaska seafood products from its processing facilities in the U.S., Japan, Europe, China and Latin America.
Aleutian Spray Fisheries was established in 1969 by naval architect Henry Swasand. Today a third generation of Swasands is active in the company’s management, with its vessels all built in Pacific Northwest shipyards.