Cossack Caviar processes eggs in Auke Bay

Posted: Tuesday, July 18, 2000

For about two weeks, Cossack Caviar has been operating part of its Alaska operation out of three barges anchored just outside Auke Bay harbor.

Cossack's president, Ron Decker, told the Chilkat Valley News earlier this summer that he intended to process 100,000 pounds of chum salmon eggs at a facility in Haines this year. Cossack Caviar, which has headquarters in Arlington, Wash., is one of the West Coast's best established salmon caviar processors. Decker said his plans included purchasing four million pounds of chum from the Douglas Island Pink and Chum hatchery.

As of Monday, Cossack had purchased between 150,000 and 200,000 pounds of whole chum salmon for processing from the Salmon Creek area hatchery, said Jon Carter, executive director of DIPAC.

``It's a start for them. They're buying a lot more than that from the gillnetters,'' said Carter, who expected to sell more excess salmon to Cossack.

At least one Auke Bay resident was concerned about possible discharges from the three barges, one of which is a 255-foot processor barge. Carter said he understood Cossack has invested in a process that yields no waste.

``There's no dumping because they don't have discharge,'' said Coast Guard Petty Officer Roger Wetherell.

He also said the processing barge did not need a permit because it will remain at the rim of the bay for fewer than 30 days.

``They chose it because it's a sheltered harbor,'' Wetherell said.

Auke Bay harbormaster Bob Clauder said the barges have not tied up in the city harbor.

``They just stay out there and do their packing.''

Repeated Empire calls to Decker for details about his operation were not returned.

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