Seward will be the newest location for a seafood processing facility out of the Lower 48, according to city officials.
Stephen Sowell, Seward’s assistant city manager, confirmed on Tuesday that Bornstein Seafoods has taken over Polar Seafood’s lease on the east side of Resurrection Bay.
Bornstein is a seafood processor out of Bellingham, Washington, with locations in state as well as in Oregon. The Seward operation is the first wholly owned facility in Alaska.
Brandii Holmdahl, Bornstein’s vice president of strategic development, said she took the lead on the expansion project because she was already familiar with the Kenai Peninsula. She grew up in Soldotna and lived in Seward for many years.
“I got involved again quickly,” Holmdahl said.
The owner of Polar Seafood reached out to Bornstein to see if the company was interested in expanding to Alaska and taking over the lease in the summer of 2021, she said.
“The discussion started last early summer, and I moved to Seward in July to start working on the process of transitioning it over,” Holmdahl said. “And (it) became official in September.”
According to Bornstein’s website, the Seward location will process a variety of species: salmon, halibut, black cod, cod and pollock.
“The majority of our portfolio is made up of crab and shrimp and whiting and rockfish, traditionally,” Holmdahl said. “And so the access to black cod and halibut, pacific cod and salmon is really what the Alaska acquisition brings for us.”
Kat Sorensen, the executive director of the Seward Chamber of Commerce, said Tuesday that there is hope a new seafood processing facility will boost the city’s economy.
“In the summer, tourism is definitely the majority of our business,” she said. “But with that said, it varies. And we do have a diverse economy that includes the marine industry and fishing industry, for sure.”
Seward’s tourism industry, as well as the fishing industry, have both been disrupted the last two summers because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re excited from the chamber side to see another expansion on the marine and fishing industry in the community, and the business and job growth,” Sorensen said.
Bornstein Seafoods is currently hiring for the 2022 season, which runs from mid-March through October, according to the company’s Facebook page.
Reach reporter Camille Botello at firstname.lastname@example.org.