Almost a year into the purchase of Peter Pan Seafood from a major Japanese corporation, the new owners are celebrating a successful 2021 and say they are bracing for more of the same in 2022.
“The new brand image and Peter Pan logo symbolizes a bold step toward a bright new future,” said Rodger May, Peter Pan owner and chief growth officer. “Peter Pan has been around for 123 years, and we want to be around for many, many more years to come.”
Since sale of the company was completed on Dec. 31, 2020, Peter Pan has set out to establish a new image, in Alaska, where much of its storied history is based. In Bristol Bay this past summer, in the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Peter Pan announced higher base prices for sockeye salmon early in the season, then a month later upped that price. Then after reviewing the season’s data this fall, the company raised the bar again, increasing the sockeye base price to $1.45 a pound, plus quality incentives. The company also swelled its processing workforce at its Dillingham plant alone by 20% as the industry works to recover from jobs lost in 2020.
Even as the pandemic raged on globally, including in Alaska, Peter Pan had no positive cases among its employees, said John Hickman, vice president of operations.
“We were very strict about keeping closed campuses,” he said.
Those vaccinated went right to the processing facilities and those not vaccinated were isolated before they were brought in, Hickman said,
Expenses to keep employees safe from the virus topped over $7 million, and Peter Pan has not received a dime in COVID-19 relief funds, he said.
Looking ahead to the 2022 fishing season “we’re excited,” he said. “Looking forward to getting more fish, “We have the capacity for what we caught last year and quite a few more.”
In the surge of sockeyes coming into Bristol Bay, no harvesters got put on limits, there were no suspensions and the company still had capacity, he said.
“We could have taken more fish,” Hickman said.
A significant portion of the Bristol Bay catch went to fresh domestic markets as fresh and fresh frozen product, the majority on the frozen side, from restaurants to smaller fish shops and big supermarkets. There were also good domestic markets for cans of sockeye and pink salmon, and overseas markets as well, Hickman said.
The company also has a frozen on new value-added frozen items, including salmon, Pacific cod and black cod said Ken Taylor, vice president of purchasing sales and logistics.
The food service industry is getting similar product, he said, including sockeye salmon, Pacific cod, halibut and black cod, plus Dungeness crab and a little bit of golden king crab he said.
Peter Pan Seafood is being sold in all major metropolitan centers in the U.S., as well as in Vancouver, B.C., Toronto and Montreal.
“They all like seafood,” he said.
Peter Pan Seafood LLC, with offices in Anchorage, is owned by a group that includes May, of Northwest Fish, the Na’Nuk Investment Fund LP, managed by McKinley Alaska Private Investment LLC and McKinley Capital Management LLC; and the RRG Global Partner Fund, managed by RRG Capital Management LLC.