Adam Spencer, The Triplicate

Alber upgrades equipment and acquires another facility

Alber Seafoods, which operates Crescent City's only on-site seafood processor, has recently expanded operations locally - with a complete equipment upgrade - and coastwide by purchasing a seafood company in southern Washington.

"We have updated all of our equipment inside the plant so we can increase our productivity, we can make more products, and it will also increase our quality to a higher level than it already is," said Myriah Thurston, plant manager for Alber Seafoods' Crescent City location.

The equipment upgrade covered all of the main components in the building located in Crescent City Harbor including boilers, briners and cookers.

On Jan. 20, Alber Seafoods announced another business move that could boost operations in Crescent City: the acquisition of Jessie's Ilwaco Fish Co. in Ilwaco, Wash., just across the Columbia River from Astoria, Ore.

Operations at Jessie's are going to be "business as usual" for the foreseeable future, with the current employees and management remaining in place, according to Max Boland, vice president of sales for Alber Seafoods.

Jessie's is a familiar landmark in Ilwaco and Pacific County's fourth-largest employer with 159 employees, according to the Chinook Observer.

Boland said his company's owner, Don Alber, had always thought highly of Jessie's plant in Ilwaco and finally pursued it.

The acquisition of Jessie's will "complement" Alber's other operations well, Boland said, and "there's a possibility of more processing in Crescent City because of it."

It's too early to tell exactly how the acquisition of Jessie's will affect Alber's operations, but "there are a lot of possibilities and opportunities," Boland said.

Alber Seafoods, which currently employs one drag boat based in Fort Bragg, is considering hiring another to keep processing operations more consistent, Boland said.

Currently, most of the processing plant's employees are subject to periods of no work when fish aren't coming in.

Although Crescent City Harbor takes in the highest commercial value of seafood in California north of Moss Landing in Monterey Bay, Alber Seafoods is the only remaining local processor.

"The harbor is very happy to see the seafood industry expand here," said Richard Young, Crescent City Harbor CEO and harbormaster. "We think it's an important part of the local economy - potentially very important."

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