Peter Pan’s Travis Roenfanz, Bristol Bay manager    Credit:  Brian Venua/KDLG

Peter Pan Seafoods will pay its fishermen a base price of $1.10 for sockeye this season.

This is the first time in at least 25 years that a Bristol Bay processor has announced its base price this early in the year, according to Travis Roenfanz, the Bristol Bay manager for the company.

Roenfanz made the announcement at the PAF Boatyard in Dillingham before a crowd of fishermen.

“Peter Pan is a new company this year, and they are really remodeling how they’re thinking about things, more vertically integrated and trying to get a better quality product to the market,” he said.

Fishermen in the crowd were enthusiastic about the early announcement; some shouted their thanks as Roenfanz continued to talk — one man walked to the stage to shake his hand.

Peter Pan’s 2021 base price is higher than last year’s price of $0.70, although it is lower than the 2019 price of $1.35.

The company said in a news release that it set the base price early to “put the fleet at ease that they will receive a fair price for the long hours and hard work they are about to endure” during the fishery.

In an interview after the announcement, Roenfanz said setting the base price early also allows the company to better plan for the season.

“We know where the base is going to be set now, we can look at the market and know what we have coming up for our fresh markets and our frozen markets, and it gives us a good base starting point,” he said.

At the beginning of the year, Japanese seafood company Maruha Nichiro sold Peter Pan to three buyers. The deal vertically integrated the company; now, all stages of production and marketing — usually operated separately — are now under one owner. It also placed Peter Pan under American ownership.