Wards Cove cannery eyes options for 2002

Posted: Sunday, January 27, 2002

Closing the Wards Cove Packing operation on North Tongass Highway in Ward Cove is one option Wards Cove Packing is considering in 2002.

But no decision has been made yet, according to David Forbush Jr., the Seattle-based company's vice president for Southeast operations and regional manager. He is also plant superintendent at the operation in Ward Cove.

Wards Cove has been in contact with the seine fleets that usually supply the company's canneries with salmon. "We've been telling them that a lot of changes are coming up," Forbush said.

In addition to not wanting to share internal company information yet, he said the company simply doesn't have "all the pieces of the puzzle."

He said he hopes to have a plan for the coming season by about Feb. 5.

"We are considering lots of things at this time - I can't say that we aren't looking at (shutting down the Ward Cove plant)," he said. "But as far as considering it - everything's on the table right now," he said.

Because rumors are so widespread, he said he hesitated to fuel them with any comments. Although Forbush said the company is talking about reducing its volume of pink salmon, the company itself will continue operating.

"What I can tell you is that Wards Cove is going to be operating in Southeast Alaska in 2002 as Wards Cove Packing, and we're going to buy as much salmon as we feel we can market."

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