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Fish waste plant could come to Sitka

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SITKA, ALASKA
The Sitka Assembly approved selling land in the park to the Alaska Industrial Development Export Authority, or AIDEA, which is interested in bankrolling construction of the plant.

Industrial Park director Garry White says regulations have changed that prevent downtown processors from discharging fish waste into Sitka Channel, and that having it processed in the community will save them money.

“They’ve also established contracts with a fish processing company called Ocean Beauty, take fish waste from Petersburg and from Excursion Inlet, and to bring all that fish waste into our community, process it, make a product of it, put people to work doing so, and to solve a community need. It takes this fish and gives us almost a full utilization of the fish,” White said.

Fish waste can be used to produce fish meal oil and a gelatin used in joint health products or pet food, says Peter Stitzel, with Sitka Meal, Oil and Gelatin – the company planning to operate the plant.

And once the plant has paid back the money it owes AIDEA, he says it intends to share profits with local fish processors. The AIDEA board meets to discuss the plan on March 2.

After that, Stitzel says the plant goes out for public bid.

“And as long as it doesn’t come back too crazy – an $8 million plant doesn’t come back as a $15 million plant – then we should be OK,” he told the Assembly via teleconference. “And then we start construction this year, and then maybe even by the end of this year we’ll be able to take some of the smaller amounts of waste from the in-town processors. But we should be in full production next year.”

The Assembly agreed to sell about 26,000 square feet to AIDEA for $4 per square foot – a rough total of $104,000.
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