Northline Seafoods Barge Heads for Bristol Bay

Northline Seafoods Barge Heads for Bristol Bay
Northline Seafoods’ vertically integrated barge, the Hannah, on its maiden voyage from Bellingham, Wash. to Clarks Point, Alaska, on May 25, to participate in the 2024 Bristol Bay fishery. Photo: Northline Seafoods.

Northline Seafoods’ new vertically integrated barge, equipped to buy, freeze, ship, store and distribute wild Alaska salmon, is expected to make its debut this summer in the Bristol Bay wild salmon fishery, with a capacity to hold more than 10 million pounds of fresh fish.

The barge would be located at Clarks Point in the Nushagak district to buy fish from all Bristol Bay fishing districts.

The Hannah’s departure on May 25 from Fairhaven Shipyard in Bellingham, Wash. marks the completion of a more than three-year project, including 15 months of construction.

Seeing the Hannah depart for the Bristol Bay fishery “is a dream come true,” Northline Seafoods CEO Ben Blakey said in a May 28 statement, confirming the maiden voyage of the barge.

Blakey said that the successful completion of the barge is an accomplishment shared with many partners, including the Port of Bellingham and over 250 local vendors who contributed to construction of the 400-by-100-foot vessel.

Northline officials said the supply-chain platform offered by the Hannah would improve quality, increase efficiency and preserve the value of wild salmon at the source.

The vessel’s ultra-low-temperature refrigeration system creates a new production model for wild Alaskan salmon. Fish are to be frozen quickly to a core temperature of -30°F directly on the fishing grounds, preserving salmon in a fresh-like state.

The Hannah, with a production crew of 20, has the capacity to freeze up to a million pounds of salmon a day, with the fish being frozen to -30°F in under two hours.

At season’s end, the Hannah is scheduled to return to Bellingham, where it will continue to operate as a cold-storage facility for the season’s catch. Whole round, frozen salmon is to be stored on the vessel, thawed and processed on demand to buyers’ specifications.

Then, in the spring of 2025, the vessel is to return to Bristol Bay, offering again a flexible, adaptable and efficient supply chain, Northline officials said.

In 2022, Northline received a $40 million Food Supply Chain loan backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of the Biden administration’s Build Back Better initiative.

Financing was secured through Greater Commercial Lending, a subsidiary of Greater Nevada Credit Union based in Reno, Nev. Greater Commercial provides loans to businesses and organizations in underserved and rural communities.


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