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Plant's Sanitation Crew Keeps it Clean!

Federal Way's dedicated sanita... Federal Way's dedicated sanitation crew passes sanitation chemical course
In the food processing business, you’re only as good as the last cleaning of your plant and at our Federal Way operations, where we cut up to 40,000 lbs. of fish a day, we have a great plant sanitation team. They have just gone through a sanitation chemical training program, which involved classroom study and a test, and they all passed. The course included all aspects of chemical safety training—reading and understanding the labels, handling, mixing, storage, usage, and monitoring.

Each person has a specific role but the whole sanitation team has one job: keep all areas of the plant—including the restrooms and cafeteria—clean and ready for the next shift. They are not involved in the cutting or handling of fish and they only go to work when the fish is out of the way. All the chemicals are stored outside of the plant, and are approved by the government for their intended use. Congratulations!

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Sea Share Summer Update from Jim Harmon

E&E Foods' Federal Way plan... E&E Foods' Federal Way plant manager Jessie Umagat has been steaking for SeaShare for 20 years A tote of salmon waiting for st... A tote of salmon waiting for steaking at E&E's Federal Way plant
Seafood donations across the country
“SeaShare exists to maximize the generosity of our seafood industry partners.” That’s the briefest explanation I have, and it remains true. Some of this year’s donations include:
• 650,000 frozen tilapia servings from Mazzetta Company
• 200,000 canned salmon servings from Ocean Beauty Seafoods
• 160,000 frozen salmon servings from Silver Bay Seafoods and E&E Foods
• 450,000 frozen Genuine Alaska pollock servings from the At-Sea Processors and Trident Seafoods in Anacortes, WA.
• 600,000 frozen Genuine Alaska Pollock portions in-process from American Seafoods and High Liner Foods in New Bedford, MA.

Other partners provide the downstream support to reach food banks across the country: Frontier Packaging, Coastal Transportation, Lynden Freight, Matson, Offshore Systems Inc, Lineage, Kloosterboer Cold Storage, and many others.

Mary and I were in Kodiak last month to meet with the fishermen and processors who donate valuable fish from the Gulf of Alaska. SeaShare works with several local agencies to feed people on Kodiak Island, including Kodiak Food Bank, Brother Francis Shelter, and St. Herman’s.

This year we were again able to fly 12,000 pounds of frozen halibut, from Ocean Beauty Seafoods and North Pacific Seafoods Inc., to Kotzebue thanks to the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak. The Hercules C-130 also stopped in Nome to drop off 10,000 pounds of frozen halibut for villages that were not able to hunt Walrus this year due to receding sea ice. I met the plane in Nome, and witnessed this great example of local fishing communities sharing their bounty with others who rely on the sea for their traditional foods. Thank you to Carol Piscoya and her team at Kawerak for coordinating the local distribution from Nome, and to Kelli Shroyer at Maniilaq for coordinating the local distribution from Kotzebue. You can read more about this year’s airlift here:

Meanwhile, donated fish from the Bering Sea are just showing up now. We have over 250,000 pounds of salmon and halibut enroute, with more waiting for shipment (thanks again Coastal, Lynden and Matson). Even with all the donations, we still incur over 50 cents a pound to turn these fish into finished, packaged portions that food banks can distribute. Your financial support enables us to complete annual projects like this… generating truckloads of high-protein seafood for the food bank network. Thank you.

NFI and the Future Leaders
We kicked off the annual class project during the Future Leaders visit to Seattle last month. These 40 seafood execs are passionate about seafood and committed to hunger-relief. As one of them wrote: “We have come up with a unique concept for this year’s SeaShare project, which achieves our two main objectives. First, to raise monetary and seafood donations for SeaShare. Second, to increase participation from past Future Leaders classes.”

This year’s class came up with a friendly competition: East vs. West, to see which team can feed the most people. Kosta Anazeris at Preferred Cold Storage started things off early for the East team with a company-wide broadcast. Gerstein Padua at Unisea responded by reaching out to all of his Unisea peers. Game on. We’ll keep tracking donations through January, and announce the winners at NFI’s annual market conference in Miami. If you want to participate, just click on EAST or WEST

SeaShare and the Seafood Nutrition Partnership
Eating Heart Healthy is SNP’s 4 week interactive cooking and nutrition program, designed to increase awareness of the cardiovascular benefits of a heart healthy diet for women. Studies show that eating just 8 oz. of seafood per week reduces the risk of dying from heart disease by 35%. SeaShare has partnered with the Seafood Nutrition Partnership, FareStart, and Bastyr University to bring this valuable program to the YWCA in downtown Seattle. Participants will get a hands-on cooking demonstration and recipes that can feed a family of four for about $10. Omega-3 index levels will be measured before and after, tracking progress against cardiovascular risk.

SeaShare’s unique donation model combines donations of raw materials with donated packaging, processing, freezing, freight and financial support to create an efficient, low-cost stream of high-protein food for food banks. We’ve added donation programs across the country, enabling more donors to participate. Financial support is integral to each of them, and it takes creative thinking. That’s what Team Pure & Wild understands. Joe Bersch, President of Premier Pacific Seafoods, and his sailing partner Dalton Bergan wanted to sail a Polynesian-style “proa” in the Race to Alaska (R2AK), a no-holds barred competition from Port Townsend WA to Ketchikan AK. They also wanted to raise awareness for their favorite charities: SeaShare and Blue H2O. Joe reached out to the Pacific Seafood Processors Association (PSPA) and others to match donations, raising almost $30,000 for SeaShare. Thank you, Joe and Dalton!

In other development news, SeaShare is implementing a new Development plan, thanks to a multi-year grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. We are currently looking for a Development Director to manage a comprehensive program. Please let us know if you have any recommendations.

Thank you for your continued support. We remain one of the most efficient nonprofits in the country, and we’ll continue working to earn the trust you’ve placed in us. for more information


Jim Harmon


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Quality Audit Passes with Flying Colors

E&E Foods' first rate producti... E&E Foods' first rate production team at our Federal Way plant.
Congratulations are in order for the team at E&E Foods Federal Way plant with the successful completion of their first third party audit conducted by Mérieux NutriSciences (Silliker). This was an unannounced audit, but the plant and crew were ready and were awarded with a rating of Excellent for their efforts. One of the many benefits of the crew’s hard work and focus on food safety is that the plant is now a proud approved vendor to Costco.

Tab Goto, owner of E&E, congratulated the staff and stated, “this is proof of our commitment to produce safe product for our consumers and we do it with pride.”

The auditor was pleased with the interest seen from the staff at the plant and made it clear in his audit report that he appreciated the cooperation he received from everyone involved. Of course, there were some findings during the audit (nobody’s perfect!) but these are viewed as opportunities to improve the plant and processes.

This audit is another milestone in the path of food safety and customer satisfaction the dedicated team in Federal Way has followed since the plant opened. Earlier this year, the plant was also successfully certified under the USDC HACCP/Quality Management Program and had recertification audits for MSC and RFM. Next up – BRC! Kudos to the staff, and to Jessie Umagat, Plant Manager, and Helen Owen, Corporate Quality Director, both of whom spearheaded the effort.

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Pinks Show in Abundance

Sea Bird at the dock and empty Sea Bird at the dock and empty Sea Bird fully loaded and head... Sea Bird fully loaded and headed for Washington state The Cape Greig processing ve... The Cape Greig processing vessel gives E&E Foods the flexibility to go where the fishermen are. It has been busy with pinks the last few weeks.
Through August 19, the total salmon harvest for Alaska is at 220 million fish--and counting. The pink salmon run makes up nearly 70% or approximately 150 million fish statewide, currently 7% more than initially forecast. Amazingly, almost 87 million of the pinks were caught in Prince William Sound and that number is almost 70% more than forecast. That is a lot of fish!

E&E Foods' Kenai plants, our processing vessel Cape Greig, and our freighter/tender, Sea Bird, play meaningful roles in processing some of those pinks. Our plants have been running round-the-clock for a good portion of the pink season and we are still at it.

Sea Bird has been shuttling between Alaska and Bellingham, fully loaded with frozen pinks, handling about 600,000 lbs. a load. Cape Greig has been cranking out up to 100,000 lbs.+ a day of processed pinks over the course of the season.

A fair amount of this production is already committed to customers around the world.

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Sustainability in Seattle

Approaching sunset at the Seatt... Approaching sunset at the Seattle Aquarium, with fresh oysters, salmon and tuna at the SSW Gala Traceability wo... Traceability workshop at the SSW Industry Lab at Ray’s Boathouse : Grilled Neah ... : Grilled Neah Bay Troll King Salmon, served at the SSW Industry Lab, courtesy of Ray’s Boathouse
E&E Foods attended Sustainable Seafood Week Seattle’s First Annual Gala and Industry Lab, celebrating sustainable seafood.

With a focus on local Northwest favorites (halibut, blackcod, oysters, and salmon), the food at both events was outstanding. Local Chefs pulled out the stops at the gala, our favorite being the king salmon mousse and deviled egg. Naturally, industry leaders were present and enjoying the fare, and there were many reps from distributors, processors, NGO’s and restaurants who flew in from the Bay Area and the East Coast in attendance. Even a few of E&E customers from across the country were there, and it was a pleasure hearing what they value in an event surrounding sustainability.

The Gala was mostly social, but the following day at the Future of Fish Industry Lab, chefs, processors, distributors, traceability specialists and sustainability experts gathered to discuss industry problems and solutions regarding seafood sustainability. Focusing on long term ocean health, panels and group discussions surrounding industry pain points from the boat to the plate were discussed in depth. It was a productive exercise just to get a vertically integrated seafood supply chain all around one table, with third party stakeholders present as well. All of us touch the same product, and build our business practices around moving and selling the same fish from the time it bites the hook to the time it gets pierced by a fork, but we rarely get to hear and understand the business focuses of each role of the supply chain. Including businesses at all levels of the seafood supply chain is a great first step toward full scale industry progress.

As a firm that earns its living from the sea, supporting industry sustainability efforts is an important part of what we do at E&E.

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Wild End to the Bristol Bay Season

As the season drew to a close... As the season drew to a close, we found a pot of gold under this rainbow at Coffee Point
Our last blog was entitled, “Warm Rivers, Modest Runs, Small Fish.” Apparently, we spoke too soon—at least as far as Bristol Bay is concerned. The last day of the Port Moller test fishery, which measures the run headed to Bristol Bay (it usually takes about a week for the sockeye to make it to the rivers in the Bay), was July 10. By this time, the fish have historically dwindled to a trickle.

Not this year, though. In terms of numbers, it might even be possible to argue that the run started after the close of the Port Moller test fishery. Last year, after the July 10th termination of the test fishery, they fished until July 17, resulting in about 3.4 million additional fish or about 12% of the total catch of about 28 million. So far this year, they were still fishing as of the 21st, with almost 18 million having been caught AFTER the test fishery concluded, or about 53% of the total catch of 34 million so far. In other words, more than half of the fish caught in Bristol Bay occurred after the fishery is usually straggling to a close AND the total catch is bigger this year. Wow!

One data point highlights this: On July 17, 2014, the last day of fishing last year, 101,000 fish were caught; on July 17, 2015, the number was 1,661,000—16x greater! Yikes!

The downside of this late run is that some of the fishermen had already left and some of the plants were already winding down operations. However, because E&E’s plants are on the Egegik and Ugashik Rivers (see prior blog) where there is a more consistent stream of fish, we were ready, and the plant kicked into high gear, running pretty much round the clock. Way to go Team Coffee Point! Rumor has it the season ran so late that snow is in the forecast!

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Warm Rivers, Modest Runs, Small Fish

Alaska is always beautiful, eve... Alaska is always beautiful, even when it is barren.

It is just more barren than it should be at this time of year.
Normally there is much more... Normally there is much more water from the melting snowpack. The fish are small, but when ... The fish are small, but when carefully handled,

they are beautiful and our customers love what they get.
While the Alaskan sockeye fish run is in full swing, some interesting—and alarming—aspects of this season make it one of the more unusual ones on record.

The first issue is that many of the rivers, and not just in Alaska, are at levels lower than they have been in a number of years. The lack of snowpack in the mountains is a major reason for the lower volume of river water, leading to higher water temperature and negatively impacting how the fish migrate back to their spawning grounds. Ideal water temperatures for salmon migration are in the 12⁰-14⁰ C range, and some of the rivers have been measured 17⁰+; 20⁰ +/- is usually fatal, but even before reaching such a high level, the fish become distressed and more susceptible to disease and other breakdowns.

A second issue, which is harder to fully understand, is the small size of the fish. It appears to be a repeat of last year’s Bristol Bay problem, only this year it appears to have spread across the region. Whether it is due to a lack of food, excessive competition for the food that is there, or some other factor is unclear, but the reality is that the entire industry will see many of the same 2/4 size fish that was the defining feature of just the Bristol Bay fishery last year.

The third issue is that the runs in Bristol Bay, Prince William Sound and Southeast have been underwhelming. The Cook Inlet fishery hasn’t started in earnest, so it is too soon to tell how that will turn out, but there is concern among the industry that these smaller fish could make up nearly 70% of the run, versus the historical range of 40-45%.

At E&E, we are attempting to deal with these issues in ways that maintain the high level of service our customers expect of us.

Our Bristol Bay fisheries on the Egegik and Ugashik Rivers are less prone to the concentrated runs seen in other parts of the Bay, so our fish are likely to have experienced less stress. That’s a better fish for you.

Recognizing the trend towards smaller fish, a number of our retailers are “downsizing” their portion sizes and embracing the smaller fish as a way to appeal to changing demographics.

The smaller runs are a curse and a blessing: they should create some upward momentum on prices, which could help the industry in general. But next to a glut of low cost farmed salmon on the market, it is unclear how much pricing power there is.

One thing is sure: producers like E&E that have a history of care in handling the fish from catch to shipment, are in a great position to add value in the marketplace.

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Pacific Star Kick-off BBQ

A great meal to start off the s... A great meal to start off the season in beautiful, downtown PacStar! Chef Brian doing fine work pro... Chef Brian doing fine work providing not only traditional burgers, but tasty salmon as well. Plant Manager, Steve Lee and ... Plant Manager, Steve Lee and his daughter. Tab Goto talking with the Gran... Tab Goto talking with the Grannums, a family of set netters that fish for us. Employees chillin' at the BBQ. Employees chillin' at the BBQ. Part of the crew that makes P... Part of the crew that makes PacStar go (left to right): Todd Nispel, Fishermen's Services; Tina Vargas, Housekeeping; Laz Veloz, Expediter & Winter Watchman; Hayden Lohman, Accounts Payable Steve Lee said this was a pict... Steve Lee said this was a picture of John Benton, one of our drift netters, picking a card to win a prize, but rumor has it that Steve said, "GO FISH!" every time someone picked a card!
Pacific Star Seafoods, Inc. (PSSI), is E&E Foods' largest processing facility in Alaska, with two plants that sit near the mouth of the Kenai River on Cook Inlet. In full production it can handle about 800,000 lbs. of whole round fish a day. It provides extensive services to set- and drift-netters. Every year it holds a BBQ for employees and fishermen to kick off the summer season and this year's was held last week.

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Coffee Point Plant Up and Running

Coffee Point is located on Brist... Coffee Point is located on Bristol Bay on the western side of the Alaskan Peninsula Coffee Point is a prominence i... Coffee Point is a prominence in Egegik Bay. The King Salmon River is at the top right; the Egegik River is at center-right. Our plant is north up the beach. The plant manages to move a l... The plant manages to move a lot of sockeye in a short amount of time. Note the "runway" at the bottom of the screen. It doubles as a beach! An offload into a Coastal Air pl... An offload into a Coastal Air plane. This process is repeated multiple times a day until our fish is on its way to customers. Coastal's Pat Shryock makes it all happen! Those are 50# boxes of wild A... Those are 50# boxes of wild Alaskan salmon being hand loaded into the plane.
E&E has a number of Alaskan shore-based plants and our Bristol Bay plant is Coffee Point Seafoods of Washington. Coffee Point is a cape on Egegik Bay, on the western side of the Alaskan Peninsula. The bay marks the confluence of the Egegik and King Salmon Rivers.

Most of the sockeye processed at this plant comes from beach set netters, and because the plant is right on the beach, very little time passes between the fish being caught and headed-and-gutted (H&G). This results in a higher quality fish, as time spent unprocessed is an enemy of freshness.

The final point that makes this plant unique is that the H&G fish are flown off the beach by Coastal Air. As a result, the fish quickly make their way to Anchorage, where they are flown fresh to destination all across the United States. Ask your E&E rep how you can acquire this fresh sockeye.

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Yakutat Frozen Halibut

Greg Indreland, General Manag... Greg Indreland, General Manager and co-owner of the Yakutat plant and his son, Henry, fishing for halibut. Our own Don Gallup, doing a r... Our own Don Gallup, doing a reprise of the famous headless fisherman label E&E uses on its sockeye. Notice the beautiful pristine bellies of this frozen halibut. Open bellies show the freshne... Open bellies show the freshness of the halibut. Our frozen halibut is trimmed ... Our frozen halibut is trimmed and toted.
Among the fish that E&E Foods sells across the country is our Yakutat halibut and our first frozen shipment is now in Seattle in the 40/60 and 60/80 size. Many of the halibut at our Yakutat plant are caught and iced on day boats taking short trips out into the Gulf of Alaska, resulting in the superior quality that makes it such a hit with our customers. If the halibut doesn't head south in its fresh form on Alaska Airlines, it goes right to the freezer to maintain its high quality.

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