Processor questioned on farmed salmon purchases

Posted: Sunday, April 20, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- An Alaska fish processor, testifying Friday in the Bristol Bay price-fixing lawsuit, defended his company's decision to sell Chilean farmed salmon in Japan.

''We're a full-service seller over there,'' said Don Giles, president of Icicle Seafoods. ''If we have an established customer who wants to buy sockeye, we want them to think of Icicle Seafoods first.''

Giles' testimony in Superior Court came at the end of the tenth week of trial in a class action lawsuit brought by 4,500 Bristol Bay fishermen.

In a letter to fishermen in December 1993, Giles was blunt about the competition:

''Farmed fish prices are somewhat higher than the price for Bristol Bay sockeye, but it can successfully command a higher price because of superior freshness and quality characteristics,'' he said then.

Since Icicle began buying farmed Chilean salmon for its Japanese customers in the early 1990s, its purchases of sockeye salmon from harvesters in Bristol Bay has actually increased, Giles testified.

The trial, which began Feb. 3, is expected to run through May.

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