US seafood manufacturer Trident Seafoods is set to close deals to offload three of its manufacturing facilities in Alaska.

The company said it has reached the “final stages” of negotiations with buyers for the sale of its seasonal facilities in False Pass, Petersburg, and Ketchikan.

Jeff Welbourn, senior vice president of Alaska operations for Trident Seafoods, said the transactions were “relatively simple” and straightforward” and that Trident was “simplifying the deals to facilitate closing as quickly as possible”.

He added: “We are keenly aware of the upcoming salmon season, and we are confident that the buyers, with Trident’s support, will be able to communicate with the fleet, employees, and tenders in the coming weeks.”

In a statement released yesterday (13 March), the company announced local peer Silver Bay Seafoods would be acquiring its Ketchikan salmon processing facility.

The transaction is expected to close next month.

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Both groups said they intend to “work with those affected over the coming weeks to provide more details as they become available”.

A deal is yet to be finalised for its fourth plant in Kodiak, with “multiple parties” showing interest in the site, the group said.

The plant, which processes several species and operates throughout the year, is Trident’s “largest and most complex”, making it take slightly longer to sell.

“Even if we don’t close a deal by this summer, Trident will still provide a market for salmon season in Kodiak,” Welbourn said, adding that its “employees and fleet are secure, and we will share a tender strategy soon.”

Joe Bundrant, CEO at Trident Seafoods, said the company was “intentional about finding buyers who will take great care of the fleet and employees and who will integrate themselves into the communities”.

The frozen and ready-to-eat fish maker first announced its intentions to sell four of its shoreside facilities in the state last December.

Trident indicated it would also either "retire" or look for a new buyer for its Alaska-based seafood cannery in South Naknek and support functions in Chignik.

When contacted by Just Food at the time about the amount of job cuts expected at the sites, Trident said it was "too early in the process to speculate on all potential scenarios for 2024. We are at the very beginning of a process that we expect may take several months to complete."

Just Food has asked the company if it can now provide a clearer answer on the potential impact to jobs across the four production sites.

Commenting on the rationale behind the streamlining of the business, Bundrant said: "Consolidating our operations allows us to focus reinvestments and ensure we’re able to positively contribute to the Alaska seafood sector for many years to come."

Little information has been available on the potential buyers and the timeline of the sale due to interested parties having signed non-disclosure agreements.

Welbourn, senior vice president of Alaska Operations for Trident said the group recognised "this is an unsettling time, but the company has not been standing still... We’re moving as quickly as possible to minimize the impacts on the fleet, our employees, and the communities”.