In 1982, after being recruited to the U.S. to develop the frozen-at-sea processing industry in Alaska, as he had done aboard his family’s vessel the F/T Atlantic in Norway, Erik Breivik with several other fishing families founded Glacier Fish Company. That same year, the principals commissioned the Northern Glacier, a 201-foot purpose built catcher processor, at Martinac Shipyards in Tacoma, WA. The Northern Glacier started fishing for Pacific Cod in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands, producing fillets, shatter pack fillets, IQF and block products. By the late 1980s Alaska Pollock became the preferred target of the Northern Glacier. This species’ abundance, uniform size and meat characteristics made it an ideal raw material for use in the production of frozen-at-sea fillet blocks, mince and surimi. Borrowing from production techniques developed in the North Sea, the Northern Glacier employed automated fillet machines and was one of the early pioneers in developing the standards for high quality frozen-at-sea blocks for use in the quick service restaurant and frozen packaged goods categories around the world.
In 1987, the Company supported its continued growth with the conversion of the Pacific Glacier into a 276-foot catcher processor capable of both fillet block and primary surimi production allowing the flexibility to serve the global whitefish markets. The vessel underwent a major conversion in May of 2009, modernizing many aspects of the vessel and its production capabilities.
In 1992, with the creation of the Community Development Program in Alaska, the Company established a long standing harvesting relationship with Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation, an entity which represents its 15 member communities in the Norton Sound Region. This harvesting relationship remains uninterrupted since that time creating value from the harvests of NSEDC’s fishing resources while providing employment opportunities aboard the vessels. Through the mid-1990’s the partners worked tirelessly together to rationalize the Pollock fishery in Alaska to establish its hard earned fishing histories as sector allocations and ultimately quota shares under cooperative harvesting agreements and in 1998, NSEDC became a 50% partner in Glacier Fish alongside Erik Breivik and John Bundy, the Company President.
In 2008, the Company acquired one of its competitors, Alaska Ocean Seafood, thereby doubling the size of its quota holdings and adding the vessel Alaska Ocean to the fleet. In connection with this acquisition, Nippon Suisan USA, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of one of the largest marine products companies in the world, became a partner in the Company by contributing its ownership stake in Alaska Ocean Seafood and making an additional investment in Glacier. This unique vessel, shown at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and featured on the History Channel’s Modern Marvels is one of the largest catcher processors in the world capable of freezing more than 220 metric tons per day of high quality frozen-at-sea products. The Company recently upgraded its fishmeal production capabilities to a state of the art plant, capable of fully utilizing all processing waste and producing an additional 40 metric tons of fishmeal and 8,000 gallons of fish oil per day.
In 2011, the Northern Glacier was converted into a Head and Gut (H&G) vessel to catch and process groundfish. In November of 2014, the Company acquired an ownership interest and full management of the four Iquique U.S. vessels which include the Arica, the Cape Horn, the Rebecca Irene and the Unimak.
The next generation of Company leadership remains steadfast to our founder’s core operating principles while we strive to build upon more than 30 years of hard work and success at Glacier Fish Company.
Michael Breivik, CEO
Jim Johnson, President