Aleutian CDQ Acquires Marketing Arm
Wednesday, June 19 2013
The Aleutian Islands’ community development quota group is branching out. They’re currently in the final stages of a deal to buy Cannon Fish Company, a Seattle seafood marketer and supplier. The acquisition is meant to help the CDQ group behave more like a big-time seafood business.
The Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association, or APICDA, was founded on fish. The group owns all of part of about two dozen fishing vessels, which harvest their federal quotas of pollock, cod, halibut, and sablefish.
APICDA’s mission is to infuse its member villages with wealth and jobs.
Chief operating officer John Sevier says the fishermen who work for APICDA have gotten good at what they do. Now, it’s time to take the next step.
"Every other seafood company has strong marketing arms as well as strong processing arms, that are attached to some very good-quality fishermen," Sevier says.
That’s why APICDA is buying Cannon Fish Company, a seafood marketing firm.
"With the quality products that we’re getting off of our boats now, this is a very good move for us – to be able to move our products from the sea to the plate in a streamlined fashion," Sevier says.
Right now, APICDA has two shore-based fish processing plants -- Atka Pride Seafoods, and Bering Pacific Seafoods in False Pass.
They’re making very basic products – headed and gutted halibut, for instance. It’s high quality, but it’s not something most consumers would buy. To get it ready for the grocery store, the fish has to change hands. It leaves APICDA's plants and gets shipped off to another processor.
Cannon Fish is going to help the plants figure out how to cut out that intermediary:
"As opposed to bringing them into Seattle or going to some other secondary processor, we can actually do it all in the same level – by doing it in Alaska, rather than somewhere else," Sevier says.
Cannon Fish has been around in Seattle for more than 20 years, and they have close ties to Alaska.
They also have an office in Singapore, to oversee accounts based on fish that are harvested from the South Pacific and Indian oceans.
APICDA’s press officer, Gary Chythlook, explains:
"They also sell mahi-mahi and other products that aren’t specifically Alaska-based."
Cannon Fish can keep those accounts – and it can also keep all of its current employees. Right now, APICDA isn’t planning any personnel changes. Sevier he thinks says it will take about six months for the company to adjust to its new ownership.
One thing APICDA won’t reveal? How much they’re paying for Cannon Fish Company. That information is being kept secret until the sale goes through, on July 1.