Trident Seafoods in Petersburg may be the smallest of the three seafood processors, but it has the largest fleet. And that fleet has a high demand for ice, said plant manager Dave Ohmer.
This spring, Trident is more than doubling its ice-making capacity by adding a new ice maker and swapping out the current ice storage box for a much larger one.
According to Ohmer, the fleet has gradually gotten larger over the years, and with that growth has been an ever-increasing demand for more ice. “Since the beginning of time, there's been a shortage of ice,” he said.
The current ice maker and storage facility can produce and hold about 35 tons of ice, Ohmer said. The new facility will produce 110 tons of ice.
Each gillnetter fishing in the Trident fleet has a capacity of 1.5 to 4 tons of ice. The new ice-maker will not only be able to meet the demand for the fleet, but there will also be an automatic delivery system. The current system requires plant workers to distribute the ice by hand.
The gillnetters spend most of the season several hours away from Petersburg, relying on tender boats to deliver a constant supply of ice. The new system will also make this process easier, Ohmer said.
“The quality of Alaska salmon depends on timeliness, that timeliness depends on ice,” Ohmer said.
Ohmer did not give specifics regarding when the new ice-maker will come in, but he did say that the project should be completed by June 1.