The local Trident Seafood plant on the Newport bayfront has closed and is for sale. Pacific Seafood has offered to buy the business and retain the workers however, they are concerned that this would create a monopoly in Newport, since they would then own all the seafood processing plants. So as a preventative measure before purchasing the plant they checked with the Attorney General to make sure there would be no repercussions as a result of buying the plant.
This coming Monday May 15th is the start of the whiting season. So timing is important when it comes to this decision. The whiting fishery is one of the most abundant and sustainable fisheries in the US and is very important for the commercial fishermen. The Attorney Generals office has never had to make a decision about this before it happens, so it has taken them some time to come up with an answer for Pacific Seafoods.
According to State Representative David Gomberg the coastal caucus has told the AG’s office that they need to make a decision before May 15th as this decision has a significant affect on jobs. Besides the fishing industry there are over 140 workers who would be affected if this decision is not made quickly by the state.
Pacific has an agreement with Trident to purchase the plant as long as the Oregon Department of Justice approves the sale. No other seafood processors have shown an interest in purchasing the plant. The Oregon department of justice needs to make a decision on this matter by tomorrow May 12th in order for the plant to be operating for Monday’s whiting season opener.