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E&E Foods Kenai Plant's COVID Efforts Featured in Local News

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E&E Foods Kenai Plant's COVI...
Limiting the catch

Kenai Peninsula seafood industry sees relatively few out-of-state COVID cases

by Jeff Helminiak
Thursday, July 16, 2020 1:21am

The Kenai Peninsula seafood industry is up and running with eight positive COVID-19 cases for out-of-state workers as of Tuesday, according to data from Alaska’s Coronavirus Response Hub.

The state has had 325 positive COVID-19 tests for out-of-state visitors, with 170 of those coming in the seafood industry. The Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula region leads the way with 51 positives, while the Municipality of Anchorage has 33, Valdez-Cordova has 29 and Dillingham has 20.

“So far the Kenai Peninsula hasn’t been put in the crunch of Valdez or Whittier or the Bristol Bay area,” Robert Ruffner, a contractor with the Alaska Salmon Alliance, said. “Here locally, we developed a plan early on and adhered to it.

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E&E Goes Live at Quinhagak

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A drift netter tethers itself to t... A drift netter tethers itself to the Clipper Epic, while another speeds away for more fish. Fisherman loads sockeye into ... Fisherman loads sockeye into a tote. Beautiful skies, calm seas, lots... Beautiful skies, calm seas, lots of action. Drift netters waiting for sockeye. Drift netters waiting for sockeye.
After five years of being "dark" to commercial fishing, the Quinhagak/Goodnews Bay fishery is once again active; the first opener was June 29. As previously posted, E&E Foods has positioned the processing vessel, Clipper Epic, in Goodnews Bay, and the tender, Tanusha, will make the shuttle back-and-forth between the processor and Quinhagak.

Although the fishery is facing the same low king escapement numbers that are seemingly endemic to all of Alaska's salmon fisheries, the first two openers resulted in decent sockeye catches. More importantly, there was considerable excitement among the 50+ drift net boats that ventured out to beautiful sunny skies and placid seas.

Tab Goto, E&E's chairman stated, "Part of our responsibility is to support the Alaskan communities that rely on the salmon runs. This arrangement gives us access to additional sockeye and puts salmon-based revenues back into the communities for the first time in five years. It's a win-win."

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