Trident Seafoods is the largest company that catches and processes seafood in the U.S. Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, Trident largely fishes in Alaskan waters. It has a fleet of fishing vessels, several processing plants, and it distributes its products to retail stores, wholesalers, and food service markets. The company belongs to the Pacific Whiting Conservation Cooperative.
Like other maritime companies, and especially commercial fishing companies, Trident has a responsibility to create work environment that is reasonably safe. Unfortunately, too many workers end up injured while fishing and processing catches. Both types of jobs are dangerous and both have led to accidents that cause worker injuries and even deaths. If you have been injured working for a maritime seafood company, know that maritime laws are in place to help you get the compensation you need.
Trident Seafoods is a Seattle-based fishing, processing, distribution, and product development company. Of its many products Trident makes and sells smoked fish, canned fish, frozen fish, and ready-to-eat seafood products. The company has been around for more than 40 years and began as a family operation. The company claims to have some of the best seafood products available because of the fact that they control all parts of the operation from the ocean to the store shelves, and because they catch and process the fish right on their vessels to maintain freshness.
Most of the fishing that the company does is in Alaskan waters. Trident operates out of several top fishing ports in Alaska, including Naknek, Cordova, Kodiak, Akutan, Sand Point, Ketchikan, Petersburb, Wrangell, and St. Paul. The company also distributes its products outside the U.S., mostly to China and Japan. The company also claims to have a commitment to the environment and sustainable fishing.
The history of Trident goes back to 1961. The beginnings were humble, with 19-year old Chuck Bundrant and his old Ford truck. He left Tennessee for Seattle and then Alaska in search of a fishing adventure. He spent years working on fishing boats to learn the trade and eventually bought his own fishing vessel, along with two partners, in the 1970s. There small vessel was one of the first to include both catching and processing equipment on board.
Eventually the friends and fishermen joined forces with San Juan Seafoods in Bellingham, Washington and eventually the company would become today’s Trident Seafoods. Now Trident is the largest seafood company in North America, but is still a company that is small at heart and dedicated to fishing and maintaining healthy, sustainable fisheries.
Trident Seafoods owns a large fleet of fishing and processing vessels that helps to make it the largest fishing company on the continent. The fleet includes three large trawlers that also process catch. These vessels are largely used for catching pollock in the Bering Sea of Alaska. The fleet also includes two floating processors, which follow the salmon and herring seasons throughout Alaska.
The fleet contains 15 dedicated trawlers. These are used to catch Pacific cod and Alaskan Pollock, but may also act as tender vessels, taking on catches from independent fishermen. Six crab catchers, and several tenders round out the fleet and allow the company to catch and take on a variety of seafood types. Trident also has two small freighters for shipping cargo and containers around Alaska.
Trident claims to be a company that takes its responsibility to quality, safety, and the environment seriously. The company works in sustainable fisheries in Alaska and is devoted to producing products that are safe and of the highest quality. Also of concern is the safety of the company’s workers. Commercial fishing is a very dangerous industry and many people are hurt and even killed every year doing it. Trident claims to put its workers’ well-being above all else and to ensure they work as safely as possible.
In spite of this commitment, workers do get hurt. Commercial fishermen face dangerous waters in Alaska as well as frigid weather. Fishing in these conditions is risky and no matter how employers in a maritime company strive to keep workers safe, accidents happen. As an example, in one terrible incident for Trident, a worker was killed after sustaining serious injuries. The worker was in a freezer facility when he was crushed by a fish cart. Although he was transported to a hospital, he ended up dying from the injuries sustained.
In another incident Trident faced it wasn’t equipment that harmed a worker. He complained to managers at the processing plant at which he worked that other employees were buying and selling alcohol, which is against company policy. A few days later the worker was severely beaten by those employees and suffered brain damage. A judge in Alaska found that Trident was liable for his injuries because of lax security.
Sometimes maritime accidents harm the environment more than workers. While Trident was ordered to pay more than $1 million to the injured worker in the above incident, it was also forced to pay more than $2 million for a violation of the Clean Water Act. This came after Trident was found to have dumped waste from fish processing waste into the ocean in violation of the Act. The company had been doing it for years, contrary to its claim of environmental responsibility.
A Maritime Company and Worker’s Rights
Maritime companies like Trident have a responsibility to protect workers from harm and to pay them compensation when things go wrong. Whether the company is negligent or not, workers have certain rights to compensation under maritime law. The maritime industry is dangerous, which is why these laws are in place and ensure that workers have a way to get the money they need to recover from illness or injury.
If you are a maritime worker, whether for a fishing company or some other type of company, you have rights under maritime law. Take the advice of a maritime lawyer who can help guide you through the process, represent you, and make sure you get what you are owed.