There won't be any salmon processed in Port Moller this year because Peter Pan Seafoods is still working on getting its plant up and running after a fire last year left it inoperable.
Disaster struck the Peter Pan Seafoods plant in Port Moller last summer when a fire left the 100-year-old facility incapable of processing fish. The company announced earlier this spring that rebuilding work on the new plant has begun and that it intends to support its fleet. However, as commercial fishing opens on the east side of Bristol Bay, it appears that the catch of the Peter Pan fleet fishing near Port Moller will be processed elsewhere this season.
Bob Murphy, an Alaska Department of Fish and Game Biologist based in the area, confirmed that Peter Pan is working to get the plant back up and running.
“They’re going to be rebuilding this year after the fire that occurred mid-August last year that destroyed just about all of its processing facilities and freezers,” said Murphy.
Instead of taking salmon into Port Moller this summer, Murphy said the company will probably divert fish caught by its fleet to other locations, such as its plant in King Cove.
Brad Barr is a part of Peter Pan’s fleet and has been fishing out of Port Moller for 40 years. He’s confident that the season will run smoothly even without a local processor.
“We’re hopeful that they will be able to do at least the number of fish we’ve done in the past. But it’s going to be a little more complicated,” said Barr.
Even though last year’s fire was devastating, Barr has faith that the Port Moller plant will be fully up and running in the future. Until then, he said, the fleet will figure out how to manage.
“It’s not the first cannery to burn down, and as fishermen, you just have to adjust and adapt and get through it and hopefully everything will be back to normal next year,” Barr explained.
According to Barr, Peter Pan is offering some services to its fleet. Its grocery store is open, and fishermen can access to the machine shop. KDLG reached out to Peter Pan Seafoods about rebuilding its Port Moller processing facility, but its representatives declined to comment for this story.
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