AD Main Menu

Icicle to close Adak fish plant for summer 2013

Jim PaulinDutch Harbor Fisherman
Icicle Seafoods has decided not to keep its Adak seafood processing facility open for summer 2013. Courtesy Brad Hinton

Icicle Seafoods doesn’t plan on processing cod in Adak this summer, and will close the plant next month and review its plans for the western-most Aleutian Island with a seafood plant.

“We are evaluating what we are doing in Adak. We still think there’s potential, there’s plenty of potential,” said Icicle vice president for operations John Woodruff in Seattle on Tuesday.

The decision means a major loss in city revenues, both in sales taxes and electricity fees from the city-owned utility, according to the February edition of the Eagle’s Call, Adak’s monthly city-published newsletter.

The Adak City Council received word of the seasonal closure at a January meeting when plant manager Melody Jordan delivered the news in what the newsletter called a “stunning move.”

“Icicle’s early closing not only means half the revenues to the city for the three months they are open,” the newsletter reported. “It means zero revenues from Icicle for the rest of the calendar year.”

The seafood company cited the high cost of municipal electricity as one reason to shut down early this year.

“During a normal processing year, the plant  would stay open until the end of B season, mid-November,” according to the newsletter, adding that  Jordan said Icicle is  “actively working on measures to re-open the plant year round.”

Meanwhile, local fishermen are looking for alternatives.

“There are ways to keep fish moving in Adak. During the years Adak had no processor, one local fisherman, Mike Sharrah of the F/V Selah was able to ship his halibut via Alaska Airlines,” the newsletter reported.

In other business, the city council approved a list of funding requests from the state capital in Juneau, including $15 million for the small boat harbor, $1 million for hydroelectric design and power system improvements, and $50,000 for the preservation of the historic Bering Hill Church.

The newsletter also reported a bountiful delivery of western Aleutian golden king crab when the fishing vessel Trojan made a delivery to Icicle on Jan. 17. Home packs of golden were going for $8.50 per pound for a 40-pound box for Adak residents. Golden king crab is also known as brown king crab.

This story first appeared in The Bristol Bay Times/Dutch Harbor Fisherman and is republished here with permission. Jim Paulin can be reached at paulinjim(at)yahoo.com