DATE: June 19, 2000         NO: 00-58

CONTACT: Laurie Fuglvog    Phone: (907)465-5955

Department of Labor and Workforce Development

News Release

SEAFOOD WORKERS STILL NEEDED IN BRISTOL BAY
Over 250 Workers Needed Immediately to Process Salmon

Salmon processing companies in Bristol Bay need over 250 workers immediately in Naknek, King Salmon, and Dillingham, and on floating processors for the imminent salmon season.

"We are sending anyone who is interested in working in the seafood industry to employers around the state, especially in Bristol Bay at this time of the year," said Nelson San Juan, a seafood employment specialist for the Department of Labor and Workforce Development's Anchorage Job Center Seafood Unit. "Remote plants in Naknek, King Salmon, and Ekuk provide round trip transportation and room and board for workers who complete their contracts and remain on the job through the end of the employers' work season." San Juan said workers are encouraged to start out in Bristol Bay. "After completing their contracts there, we can assist them in relocating to another location where workers are still needed to process salmon through early September.

"For now, the focus is on Bristol Bay," said San Juan, who will be traveling to Naknek later this month to operate a temporary Job Center in Naknek from June 26 to July 21. This office will promote the Traveling Seafood Workforce 2000 project to match workers who have completed their Bristol Bay contracts with companies in other locations still processing salmon or other species in Alaska.

Robert Torres, General Manager of Bristol Bay Operations for North Pacific Processors, is optimistic that there will be a good sockeye run in Bristol Bay this year. "The Alaska Department of Fish and Game projects a 22.3 million sockeye harvest. This is more than the projected harvest was in 1999 and slightly less than the actual number of salmon caught in Bristol Bay last year. I am optimistic that there will be a fairly good season," said Torres, who is currently recruiting through the Anchorage Job Center's Seafood Unit for 70 seafood processors to start next week at Pederson Point.

Locations where workers could move to after Bristol Bay include Petersburg, Valdez, Yakutat, Kenai, Kodiak, Dutch Harbor, Uganik Bay and other areas.

In addition to the Bristol Bay area, the following cities need large numbers of seafood workers beginning July through early to mid-September.

  • Plants in Petersburg are calling for 200 people to work beginning July 5
  • Sitka has 125 openings beginning July 15
  • Kodiak needs 500 workers in place by July 5th
  • Bethel has immediate openings for 30 workers
  • Valdez is calling for an additional 50 by July 5th

To combat the worker shortage, many companies are offering incentives such as end of season bonuses, travel vouchers and housing discounts or rebates for those who complete their contracts.

The Anchorage Job Center, at 3301 Eagle Street has Seafood Job Orientations at 9:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Interested workers should go directly to the orientation or call the Anchorage Seafood Hotline at (907)269-4770, EXT. 7, for daily-recorded updates.

Interested workers are urged to contact their local Job Center Office or call the Alaska Department of Labor Seafood Employment Unit toll-free at 1-800-473-0688. For more information on current openings, go to the "Seafood Jobs in Alaska" web site at: http://www.jobs.state.ak.us and click on "Seafood Jobs".

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