OBI Seafoods has canceled plans to operate its plant at Larsen Bay on Kodiak Island for the 2024 salmon season, citing a poor pink salmon forecast from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, plus tough global market conditions for salmon products in general.
That decision, announced Jan. 31 by OBI CEO John Hanrahan, marked yet another decision by major processors of wild Alaska seafood to deal with challenging economic conditions in global seafood markets.
Salmon caught on Kodiak Island by the OBI Seafoods fleet will be processed at its facility in the town of Kodiak. Hanrahan said that capacity should not be an issue, with OBI’s Seward and Cordova facilities able to support Kodiak during the peak of the season in August.
“The Kodiak town plant operates year-round and has the ability to process salmon in a greater diversity of product forms making it better suited to respond to salmon markets in 2024 as we navigate this challenging time for the industry,” Hanrahan said.
The Larsen Bay facility, ideally situated close to the island’s westside fishing grounds, is expected to remain open with a small team to provide services to its fleet. The team includes OBI’s fleet manager, office manager, chief engineer, port engineer, welder, general maintenance, fishermen’s services, laundry and beach gang.
The company said it has every intention of operating its Larsen Bay facility during the 2025 salmon season.
OBI Seafoods was formed in 2020 through a merger with Ocean Beauty Seafoods and Icicle Seafoods. The company operates 10 processing plants throughout Alaska and is a leading producer of fresh, frozen and canned Alaska seafood.
Two other West Coast companies, Trident Seafoods and Peter Pan Seafoods, also announced belt-tightening plans in January in order to continue operating while dealing with the ongoing global challenges.