Sitka Seafoods plans to close Yakutat plant

Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2002

SITKA (AP) -- Sitka Sound Seafoods plans to close its fish buying and processing plant in Yakutat.

Company officials said the operation is no longer economical. Sitka Sound's lease on the plant expires at the end of the year.

The closure will remove the only processor in Yakutat, where fishing has been the backbone of the economy.

The departure of the company will be a blow to the community, said Yakutat Mayor Tom Maloney.

The city owns the building where the company operated. Maloney said the closure will mean the loss of about $80,000 in lease revenue.

The closure also means the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in raw fish taxes, property taxes and income for workers, Maloney said.

The mayor said has hopes that someone will take over the plant. He said a disaster declaration could make funds available to buy the equipment from the plant and keep it running under new management.

Southeast Alaska Native and civic leaders have asked Gov. Tony Knowles to Southeast Alaska an economic disaster area.

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