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Why do we know so much about the seafood we sell? Because we catch a lot of it ourselves aboard our own fleet of Trident vessels. We know our Wild Alaska Pollock from the moment we see it on the sonar screen to the time it leaves the loading dock in a carton, bound for a seafood restaurant or retail market. It’s this intimate knowledge and understanding of the ocean and our own products that sets us apart from our competition. What we learn at sea aboard Trident vessels helps us better understand the fish we purchase from thousands of independent Alaska fishermen and other sources around the globe. As a business, we took our first steps wearing rubber boots on a fishing deck. Trident is still a family of fishermen… and to this day nothing keeps us more focused on the things that matter.
Trident’s catcher/processor fleet is comprised of three large vessels ranging in size from 270 to 312 ft. What makes these vessels so special is their capacity to process what they harvest right on the fishing grounds. That’s also the reason they need to be so large – each vessel houses a processing plant below the fishing deck that employs more than 100 workers dedicated to producing “the freshest” frozen fish blocks and surimi available anywhere. As a testament to the professionalism of this fleet, all of these vessels successfully completed BRC (British Retail Consortium) food safety audits by the close of 2015. Their primary harvest is Wild Alaska Pollock, the most abundant wild whitefish species in the North Pacific. Our catcher/processors harvest Wild Alaska Pollock in the Bering Sea during the late winter and summer months.
The primary focus for these specialized processing vessels is herring and salmon. Typically they will follow the herring seasons northward from Southeast Alaska to Bristol Bay in the springtime and early summer, returning southward to support various Alaska salmon seasons from late June through August. The Independence can also process Pacific cod as necessary. Crew size depends upon the vessel, the species, and the season. The Independence accommodates up to 235 workers, while the Aleutian Falcon can support a crew of 120.
The Trident trawl catcher-vessel fleet is comprised of 15 vessels ranging in size from 84 to 165 ft. Governed by federal licensing regulations, some of them operate in the Bering Sea & Aleutian Islands region, while others operate in the Gulf of Alaska. The primary target species for these vessels include Wild Alaska Pollock and Pacific cod which are harvested at various times throughout the year. When not engaged in direct harvesting operations, some of these vessels operate as tender vessels taking deliveries of Alaska salmon from a fleet of independent fishermen. Others may perform charter work for fisheries research purposes. Typical crew size is 4 or 5.
The Trident crab catcher vessel fleet is comprised of 5 vessels ranging in size from 108 to 144 ft. These vessels spend the majority of their fishing time in the Bering Sea targeting King crab, Opilio (Snow crab), and Bairdi Tanner crab. These fisheries take place from late fall through the winter months and some may continue into the early spring. In addition to crab, some of these vessels also harvest Pacific cod and Sablefish (Blackcod) in the Bering Sea using pot gear. During the summer months the vessels stay busy tendering salmon in Bristol Bay and Southeast Alaska. The Bountiful has the added capability of processing and freezing its catch.
Operating in the most remote areas of Alaska, Trident relies heavily on commercial marine transportation, but we have also learned to be self-sufficient. To keep our fishermen fishing and our processing vessels and shoreplants supplied with raw materials, we maintain a small fleet of company-owned support vessels that ply the waters as necessary from Puget Sound to more than a dozen ports and anchorages in Alaska.
Trident owns more than a dozen dedicated salmon tenders operating throughout Alaska. Since our shoreplants are often located some distance from the fishing grounds themselves, these vessels serve as remote buying stations, taking fresh salmon deliveries from fleets of small, independent fishing vessels and holding them in refrigerated seawater as they transport them back to the processing plants. Operating in conjunction with additional private tenders chartered by Trident, this delivery fleet provides an uninterrupted flow of fresh fish to our plants and allows our fishermen to do more of what they do best: catch the fish. Tenders also supply groceries, fuel and spare parts to keep the small-boat fleet up and running.