Haida Wild Alaska Seafood has opened a new 7,000-square-feet fish plant in the Southeast Alaska village of Hydaburg, on Prince of Wales Island, with a goal of boosting the local economy by processing troll caught salmon.
In an interview with Alaska Sea Grant, plant manager Jess Dilts said the owners – the Hydaburg Cooperative Association and city of Hydaburg – also hope to eventually include a retail section and smoker. Meanwhile, “as soon as the trollers come in, we’re ready,” he added.
In preparation for the plant opening, Dilts flew to Kodiak to get certified by Alaska Sea Grant in safe food handling practices and sanitation at the Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center, operated by the University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.
Chris Sannito, an Alaska Sea Grant seafood technology specialist at Kodiak, was one of the lead consultants on the Hydaburg plant, and traveled twice to Hydaburg to help install sanitation equipment in the former cold storage facility and advise on the project.
Depending on the volume of salmon delivered, the catch will either be flown to Seattle from the airport at neighboring Klawock, or sent in a freezer container via ferry to Ketchikan and then on to Seattle.
Dilts told Alaska Sea Grant that Haida Wild Alaska Seafood is working with a broker in Seattle, who has markets in Boston, Denver, Oregon and elsewhere.