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Training will transfer salmon inspections
from Seattle workers to resident Alaskans


December 22, 2004

Alaska labor officials have approved a $25,000 grant to train resident Alaskans to replace contractors previously brought up from Seattle to inspect premium-quality sockeye salmon harvested in the Aleutians East Borough and marketed under the "Aleutia" brand.

The grant is administered by the Step Training and Employment Program (STEP) in the Division of Business Partnerships of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The grant funds training for quality inspectors who are members of Aleutia, a 501c non-profit organization of fishing families in Aleutians East Borough communities including Sand Point, King Cove, Nelson Lagoon and False Pass.

Aleutia markets premium quality sockeye on the domestic market under the Aleutia brand name. Each fish is inspected before it is sold to ensure that it meets industry quality standards.

"Alaska hire is a priority of Governor Frank Murkowski's administration. We are taking decisive action to train, qualify and put resident Alaskans to work inspecting Alaska salmon," said Labor Commissioner Greg O'Claray.

Aleutia Public Relations Manager Karen Montoya said, "We are excited about the opportunities that this initial training offers. These folks will be qualified to work for Aleutia and other processing companies. We expect their numbers to grow as Aleutia grows.

"Aleutia is also exploring the market for halibut and other species of fish to extend its product line in the future. Quality inspectors will be an important factor in those efforts."

The STEP-trained Aleutia workers will replace inspectors hired in previous seasons from Seafood Inspection Services (SIS) of Seattle. SIS inspectors traveled to the region every season for quality inspections in local processing plants before returning to Washington State.

"This arrangement was a major expense for Aleutia and added to the flow of paychecks we intend to plug going south of Ketchikan," O'Claray said.

The STEP plan provides five days of quality-inspection training. The training will be held at Sand Point in March with instructional personnel from Seafood Inspection Services and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Two residents will be trained from each of the communities of Sand Point, King Cove, Nelson Lagoon and False Pass. The inspectors will work during the season at processing plants at Sand Point, King Cove and Port Moller outside Nelson Lagoon.

Successful trainees will be hired as quality Inspectors for the Aleutia brand salmon beginning this summer season. Their names and availability as quality inspectors will also be available to other processors.



Source of News Release:

Alaska Department of Labor
Web Site


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