Cans of smoked sockeye salmon line the shelves at the Alaska Seafood Company facility in Lemon Creek. The Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska recently purchased the company and will begin operations by beginning of July, the tribe’s president told the Empire. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Cans of smoked sockeye salmon line the shelves at the Alaska Seafood Company facility in Lemon Creek. The Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska recently purchased the company and will begin operations by beginning of July, the tribe’s president told the Empire. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Tlingit and Haida purchases Alaska Seafood Company

The tribe’s president said the acquisition supports mission of economic sovereignty.

The Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska is the new owner of the Alaska Seafood Company and will take over operations by the beginning of July, the tribe’s president says.

“We’re finalizing the deal right now and we will probably take ownership by the first of the month,” Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson told the Empire Thursday afternoon in a phone interview. In a news release shared later that evening, the tribe confirmed the purchase.

This is a photo of the Alaska Seafood Company facility in Lemon Creek. The Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska recently purchased the company and will begin operations by beginning of July, the tribe’s president told the Empire. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

This is a photo of the Alaska Seafood Company facility in Lemon Creek. The Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska recently purchased the company and will begin operations by beginning of July, the tribe’s president told the Empire. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

The Alaska Seafood Company, established in 1987, is a Juneau-based salmon and seafood processor/business that sells wild-caught Alaska seafood including fresh, frozen, canned and smoked products. Its products can be found in retail stores and gift shops across Juneau and the state.

Peterson said Tlingit and Haida’s purchase will include both the business itself and its facility located in the Lemon Creek area. The tribe will take over ownership from the current owner Richard Hand, who was not immediately available for comment.

Peterson said Tlingit and Haida will not be disclosing the purchasing price of the business or facility. According to the City and Borough of Juneau assessor’s office, the total assessed value of the site is about $827,550.

Peterson said the purchase of the business aligns with the tribe’s core values, and aids Tlingit and Haida in its pursuit of economic sovereignty. He pointed to the tribe’s recent purchase in March of the Driftwood Lodge, a three-story and 62-unit hotel located downtown in Juneau, as another example of the tribe’s mission to diversify its economic opportunities.

“We’re looking at ways to promote employment opportunities and sustainable economic growth,” he said. “We talk a lot about economic sovereignty and you’re seeing the tribes exercise that, and for some reason it’s catching a lot of people’s interest that the tribes are doing these things. My question is, ‘Why hasn’t the tribe been doing these things?’”

Peterson said though owning a hotel and owning a seafood business is quite different, both purchases will support the tribe’s efforts to meet the needs of its citizens.

“If you look at what we do as a tribe a hotel makes sense and if you look at us as a tribe a fish processing plant makes sense,” he said. “Now, does a fish processing plant and a hotel make sense together? Maybe not — but they do for our needs and it just really fits our checklist.”

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at clarise.larson@juneauempire.com or (651)-528-1807.

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