Oceans | January 21, 2021

U.S. buyers test sustainability strategies at Peter Pan Seafood

David Bank
ImpactAlpha Editor

David Bank

New buyers aim to turn around an iconic Alaska salmon processor that was a money-loser for its former Japanese owner.

Alaska-based McKinley Capital Management and Los Angeles-based Renewable Resources Group, which closed the purchase of Peter Pan Seafood on Dec. 31, are banking on vertical integration with Northwest Fish Co. to reposition Peter Pan’s salmon as a premium brand with value-added products such as filets and meal kits. Northwest’s Rodger May is also part of the new ownership group.

The previous owner, Maruha Nichiro, one of the world’s largest seafood suppliers, took a $28 million loss on the sale and said soaring raw fish prices and falling production made a turnaround unlikely.

McKinley’s Rob Gillam said the new partners “want to show the world that Alaska offers world-class sustainable seafood investment opportunities that result in benefits to the state of Alaska, our fishing families and coastal communities, and investors.” 

  • Sustainable salmon. Alaska’s Bristol Bay is considered one of world’s best management sustainable fisheries. McKinley has been an active opponent of plans to open the Pebble gold and copper mine upstream from the bay. The Army Corps of Engineers in November rejected a permit for the mine, reversing the Trump administration’s previous approval of the project.
  • Blank check. Separately, Renewable Resources Group, with Jeff Skoll’s Capricorn Investment Group, this week filed to raise $250 million for a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, to acquire companies focused on agrifood, renewable energy, water, and environmental resource management and infrastructure. Capricorn is an investor in RRG’s latest fund and the two firms have co-invested in eight deals.