Aleutians East Borough prepares for revenue loss as Trident builds new plant
Communities in the Aleutians East Borough are bracing for a revenue hit, as the region’s largest seafood processor builds a new facility outside of the borough.
The Trident Seafoods facility on the island of Akutan in the Aleutian Islands is the largest fish processing plant in North America, and has been a mainstay for the seafood company for decades.
But the company recently began constructing a new processing facility in Unalaska, which is not part of the same borough.
The new facility isn’t expected to open until at least 2027, but it has raised questions about the future of the Akutan plant.
Aleutians East Borough Mayor Alvin Osterback said in a statement, “Trident has been an excellent partner for decades and the borough does not want to see them leave Akutan.”
He addressed the possibility of a major hit to borough coffers, saying “the seafood processor’s departure will have a large financial impact on the Aleutians East Borough and our communities.”
The borough’s 2024 budget accounts for $4 million from raw fish tax, which is more than half of the borough’s total revenue. Proprietary laws make it difficult to determine just how much of that comes from the Trident plant, but that facility dwarves all other processors in the region.
Trident representatives have said they want to maintain an active role in the community.
“We aren't interested in just walking away from the community of Akutan,” said Stefanie Moreland, an executive with the seafood company.
She said the company is in dialogue with the community about the assets they have there, as well as what their future looks like in the village.
Multiple residents in Akutan have confirmed that Trident has held outreach events in their community about the plant’s future.
No matter what Trident’s plans are, Mayor Osterback says the borough is at work preparing a “strategy regarding the economic impacts as we prepare for Trident’s exit.”