Port of Toledo General Manager Bud Shoemake told the Toledo City Council recently that the port and the town has a good opportunity to provide a regional fish processing and marketing company with a quality facility at the port’s Port Station One building on Business Highway 20.
Shoemake said the old fire station, recently renovated, just uphill from the JC Thriftway Market, could provide “Fishpeople Seafood” with a good venue for prepping and packaging fish for distribution throughout the northwest. According to Toledo City Council minutes, Shoemake said Fishpeople Seafood has expressed interest in locating a portion of its processing business at the Port Station One building in Toledo.
Shoemake said Fishpeople Seafood provides packaged gourmet meals ready to eat anytime, anywhere. The corporate office and warehouse are located in Portland with a coastal office at Cascade Head. The company’s market region includes Alaska to Central California.
Shoemake said its product launch was October 2012 and it has a current distribution of 525 stores including mass grocery chains. The company bylaws mandate that strong social, environmental and financial goals are met. He noted that profits stay in the northwest and do not go to foreign suppliers.
The Toledo location would be used to process locally caught tuna and create thirteen jobs.
The fish would be gutted and bled in Newport BEFORE being brought to Toledo on ice. The fish would immediately be brought inside the building and then quick frozen with nitrogen and then prepped using water jet cutters.
All byproduct would be either frozen for crab bait or transported to the Trident Seafood fishmeal plant. There would be no product storage outside of the building. Shoemake stated that this is a growing industry that Toledo has an opportunity to be part of.
In answer to a question posed by Councilor Jill Lyon, City Attorney Wes Chadwick said that additional review will be required by the Planning department. Shoemake acknowledged the city’s bad experience with a former fish processing company that proved to be far less than a good neighbor to surrounding property owners two years ago in the same vicinity. He assured the council that the operation would be a clean and well run – that the company is quite reputable and is Oregon rooted. Shoemake remarked that the Port offices are also based in Port Station One, so….
Shoemake said he expects the planning review will be thorough and well presented in front of the public and hopefully they’ll have their permit to proceed in time to process this summer’s crop of tuna in Toledo.