By Kent Gray
Triplicate staff writer
Approximately 40 employees of a Crescent City fish processing plant will have to wait until August before they find out if they can return to work.
Eureka Fisheries, which has a facility in Del Norte County, on Monday announced a one-month closure of its Crescent City and Eureka processing plants.
Because of the pressure that the environmentalists have put on the National Marine Fisheries Service to stop commercial fishing on the Pacific Coast, Eureka Fisheries has not had enough product to utilize our processing facilities, said the companys press release.
According to the companys administration manager, John Kosack, the release was written by members of the Hunter family, who own the company.
Were just suspending the purchase of fresh seafood for the month of July, Kosack said yesterday. After that, then well have to see what were going to do.
The press release blamed a very poor fish market and high fish prices for the decision to close, adding we are taking this time to meet and discuss our future direction.
According to Kosack, about 40 people are employed at the Crescent City processing plant. It serves around eight to 10 boats locally while buying drag fish, shrimp and crab, depending on the season.
Eureka Fisheries has been gutted by the downturn in the groundfish quotas, said Bill Carvalho, owner of Carvalho Fisheries, which also has a facility at Crescent City Harbor. They used to be huge in the groundfish business. But really, were all facing the same downturn.
According to Kosack, Eureka Fisheries President Peter Hall is on vacation until July 17, and the company will provide no more information until he returns.