Seafood products expected to fill freezers
The Valdez Fisheries Development Association (VFDA) isn’t giving commercial businesses in the Prince William Sound the cold shoulder when it comes to its new cold storage facility.
VFDA unveiled the new 55 by 180 foot cold storage addition Thursday when it hosted an open house to allow Valdez to have a peek inside the facility. Local business owners and fishermen got a firsthand look while enjoying different varieties of smoked salmon and caviar from Solomon Falls, the brand-name of VFDAs premier product line.
The cold storage facility has the capacity to store up to 500,000 pounds of fish. VFDA business manager Dave Cobb said it has the potential to be one of the largest cold storage facilities in the Prince William Sound.
“We’ve had a lot of inquiries, so far,” Cobb said. “Both of the local processors have talked to us. We’ve talked to FedEx. Some of the local stores have talked to us. We’re excited about the potential.”
The facility will be opened year-round to commercial businesses, but not to the public. By federal law and due to federal funds used to construct the facility, VFDA can’t compete against private industries.
“Hopefully little businesses will develop,” Cobb said. “People wanting to smoke salmon. People who want to do other value-added products with fish, this an opportunity to store fish.”
The facility was partially funded with a $930,000 grant from the Alaska Department of Commerce. The project began in 2006 and was completed this year. The facility is expected to be fully operational when more units are added this fall.