Trident Seafoods purchases 300-foot at-sea processor

The 300-foot at-sea processor C/P Starbound. Photo courtesy of the Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association

Trident Seafoods has reached agreement with Aleutian Spray Fisheries Inc. to acquire the 300-foot at-sea processor C/P Starbound for use in its wild Alaska Pollock and Pacific whiting fisheries, the company announced Monday, Dec. 6.

Joe Bundrant, chief executive officer at Trident, said the acquisition will improve the processor’s efficiency and environmental performance while focusing also on the health of fish stocks.

“Continuing to evolve, innovate and align product forms to market opportunities on and off-shore is fundamental to our mission and service to stakeholders, including our fishermen, employees, communities and customers,” Bundrant said.

The Starbound, built in 1989 as a 240-foot factory trawler for use in the Bering Sea, underwent a $45 million renovation in 2015 that involved slicing the vessel down the middle and welding in a 60-foot addition. This expansion added state-of-the-art processing capacity, enabling full utilization of every sustainably caught wild Alaska Pollock harvested, Trident officials said. The Starbound is equipped to fillet, freeze and package seafood. In addition to fillets, the Starbound produces other seafood products, including fish meal and fish oil, some of which is used to fuel the ship itself.

The Starbound has served as an exceptional platform for research and gear innovation in the Alaska Pollock fishery and will continue to support these initiatives under Trident’s ownership, Bundrant said.

Aleutian Spray President Chris Swasand said that as multi-generational, family-owned companies both Trident and Aleutian Spray recognize the importance of long-term investments.

“The Starbound represents the kind of continuous innovation that secures the health of both fish populations and fishing families well into the future,” he said.

The Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association and Bratvold Fisheries were partners with Aleutian Spray in the Starbound. APICDA will continue as a partner with Trident harvesting its Pollock allocation. Trident officials said they also look forward to Aleutian Spray crew and vessels joining the Trident family.

The deal 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.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.