Alaska/Washington-Based Fishing Trawler Suffers COVID-19 Outbreak

Here’s more on the outbreak from The Seattle Times:

The test results for the FV American Dynasty are a somber finding for the North Pacific fishing industry, which has been trying to keep the novel coronavirus off the ships and out of the shore-based plants that produce much of the nation’s seafood. The outbreak also underscores the toll coronavirus continues to take on the food processing industry across the nation. In Washington state, outbreaks in meat plants, fruit and vegetable fields and packing facilities prompted Gov. Jay Inslee to order new protectionsfor agricultural and food processing workers.

As part of the effort to keep outbreaks from impacting the seafood industry, the American Dynasty crew, before heading off to sea May 13, were screened for the viral infection and underwent quarantines. They also underwent additional testing for the antibodies created by the virus. …

American Seafoods, which operates a fleet of six vessels, is a major player in harvests off Washington and Alaska, with the ability process catches on board into frozen products. Off Washington, the American Dynasty was fishing for hake, also known as whiting, and was later scheduled to fish for pollock during a summer season in the Bering Sea.

The company’s full press release can be found here. Here’s a portion of it:

“The health and safety of our crew, employees, and the communities where we operate is always the top priority for us,” said American Seafoods CEO Mikel Durham. According to Durham, 100% of crew members were screened and tested for COVID-19 antibodies and viral infection before they boarded the vessel. Pre-season tests were conducted through the University of Washington. Only those who tested negative for the virus were cleared to board the vessel.