ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A Seattle-based company has bought Resurrection Bay Seafoods, a processing plant in Seward owned by Wards Cove Packing Co.
The sale to Smoki Foods Inc. was finalized just before the March 1 start of the Alaska halibut season, said Rodger May, who co-owns Smoki Foods with his wife Lisa May.
The halibut and black cod processing facility was one of several that Wards Cove put up for sale in December. Alec Brindle, Wards Cove chairman, said there is increased interest in Wards' other salmon processing plants that are up for sale.
Another Seattle-based company, Yardarm Knot, announced earlier this month that it has agreed to buy the Wards Cove Packing Co. cannery in Naknek.
Resurrection Bay Seafoods' 35 employees, including the plant's managers, will be retained and the new company hopes to add another 15 full-time employees in the coming year.
''It's a great staff, they ran independent of Wards Cove for quite a few years, and they're going to run somewhat independent of us,'' he said.
Smoki Foods first learned about the processing plant by purchasing their fish, May said. The firm purchases between 17 and 18 million pounds of fresh fish from Alaska every year. It hopes to increase the total poundage caught by about 25 percent this season.
''We've been ambitious with this first step and there's no point to stopping, now,'' he said.
Smoki Foods also bought Sea Freeze, a Seattle-area cold storage facility, and owns processing plants at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and in Port Simmonds, British Columbia.
The company's next step will involve expanding into new markets for the products.
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