Boats are moored near the Kenai boat launch in Cook Inlet on Friday, June 18, 2021, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Boats are moored near the Kenai boat launch in Cook Inlet on Friday, June 18, 2021, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

New processor enters Cook Inlet market

The move follows the exit of Copper River Seafoods

A new fish processor will operate on the Kenai Peninsula this season, following the exit of Copper River Seafoods.

Rogue Wave Processing, which is the owner of the assets formerly owned by Copper River Seafoods and Snug Harbour, will be taking its place.

Matt Haakenson, the new assistant general manager of Rogue Wave, said Thursday that he has already started working on the transition, and reiterated how committed the new processing plant is to supporting the local fishing industry.

“We’re personally invested in this,” Haakenson said. “What I’m bringing here is that connection to people in the industry.”

As a commercial fisherman and former Copper River Seafoods employee, he said he will bring experience over different sub sectors of the fishing industry into his new role at the processing plant. He said he wants to “step back and look at what’s good for the fish.”

“I really care about what happens here,” Haakenson said.

Another niche he said the company is hoping to fill is the accessibility of moderately priced fish for locals in the community. He said Rogue Wave plans to sell fish from the storefront on Kalifornsky Beach Road.

“I think that’s important, not just as a gesture of goodwill, but to be a good neighbor,” Haakenson said.

According to a press release from Rogue Wave, the company will operate on docks in Kenai and Kasilof, and offload in Ninilchik and Homer. The release states that even with the changes to Cook Inlet fishery management over the past few years, the company is committed to remaining in the area for the long term.

In addition, Haakenson said Rogue Wave will be looking to offer retention bonuses to Copper River fleet participants.

“We want to be there for their fishermen, we want to make sure their fleet is taken care of,” he said.

The plant expects to be operational by the start of the season, which begins June 21.

More information can be found at roguewaveprocessing.com once the website goes live.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

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