Ocean Beauty starts processing for 2019 summer season – focusing on canning rather freezing

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Season off to slow start.

Khns.org reports that Ocean Beauty Seafoods – the number one producer of wild-caught canned and smoked salmon, and a major producer of fresh and frozen salmon – has begun another summer of processing fish at the Excursion Inlet plant, Alaska, USA.

Alaska Operations Manager Mike Forbush told the publication that the pink salmon run for Southeast Alaska looked weak this year though the chum forecasts are strong.

Shift to canning. PHOTO: Ocean Beauty Seafoods

He also added that the market for frozen pinks was bad.  “We’re probably going to put more of the pink salmon into cans rather than freeze. Last year we froze up all the pink salmon. This year we’re going to put quite a bit more into cans,” he said.

Forbush also gave a glimpse into what Alaska’s seafood industry is going through as fish processors faces tariffs of up to 25 per-cent on U.S. seafood products from China as Trump’s trade war rolls on. China is Alaska’s biggest seafood buyer, purchasing over half of the state’s seafood exports in 2017.

“Well it’ll have some effect on us for product that we do send over there. However, we’ve got a lot of markets all around the world. We’ve got a real strong European market as well as domestic markets. We have our own reprocessing plants in Washington and our own distribution networks around the U.S,” said Forbush.

Last November, SalmonBusiness reported that Ocean Beauty announced the permanent closure of its Petersburg facility – which it had put up for sale for USD 3.4M.