Petersburg Pilot -

Alaska Longline Company will move offices to Seattle

 


The Petersburg offices of Alaska Longline Company will be moved to Seattle by April 1. The three employees at the office have opted not to take their equivalent positions at the Seattle offices, ending their time with the company that’s been based out of Petersburg since the mid-80s.

Larry Cotter—CEO of APICDA, of which Alaska Longline is a subsidiary—said that juggling two offices along with high health insurance costs are the driving forces behind the consolidation of offices in Seattle.

“It’s increasingly difficult to maintain two offices, but perhaps as important is the fact that the health insurance costs of doing business in Alaska are more than double insurance costs of doing business in Washington state,” he said.

He said other businesses in Alaska are likely to face similar challenges as the Affordable Care Act regulations come into play this year.

“If you look down the road, other people are going to experience the same thing we’re experiencing,” said Cotter.

Cotter added that their fleet has expanded in recent years, from two to five vessels, which has also factored into the decision to move the offices.

“It made sense to have the office in Petersburg when there was one boat and maybe when there were two boats,” Cotter said. “But with five boats and most of the activity occurring in Seattle, it’s just not cost effective, nor is it as efficient.”

The company, formerly called Prowler Fisheries, was formed in Petersburg by John Winther, Bart Eaton and Jerry Kennedy. Winther’s first venture into longlinging came in 1984 when he purchased the F/V Prowler, the flagship vessel of the company. He was the managing partner of the company, which became known as Alaska Longline, heading up the Petersburg offices directing vessels operating in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea.

The company grew from there with APICDA acquiring 25 percent of it in the late 90s and adding more vessels to the fleet. In 2009, APICDA acquired Jubilee Fisheries and opened the Seattle office, joining their personnel based there.

Winther passed away in late 2012 and shortly thereafter Cotter became the managing partner in his place.

Cotter characterized the decision to move as “very difficult,” given the company’s history in Petersburg and the caliber of the current three staff members.

“The folks in Petersburg have been with us a long time and they’ve done a fantastic job for us,” Cotter said.

 

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