- By Chez Oxendine
- Economic Development
Woocheen, the ocean-health subsidiary of Alaska Native Corporation Sealaska, said last week that it acquired a majority stake in Ålesund, Norway-based Normarine, a whitefish trading company. Terms were not disclosed.
The purchase of Normarine expands Woocheen’s reach into European waters. Normarine directors Bjorn Fladmark and Erik Sindre Pedersen will stay on to run the company, per a statement.
The acquisition of Normarine builds on a series of deals by Sealaska over the past two-plus years to build its market presence in the seafood sector, especially overseas. In 2020, it purchased New England Seafood International (NESI), a U.K.-based seafood importer and processor.
The following year, Sealaska sold off its ownership stake in Seattle-based processor Orca Bay to its former owner and bought undisclosed equity stakes in two Icelandic seafood firms, IceMar and AG Seafood.
NESI CEO Dan Aheren called the purchase of Normarine the “next logical step” in building Woocheen’s sustainable seafood business.
“This investment shortens the path between sea and plate and brings our customers and consumers even closer to the Norwegian fishing community with whom Normaine has built more than 30 years of deep and enduring relationships,” Aheren said in a statement. “It expands our ability to put high-quality Atlantic cod and Haddock, alongside our Alaska Line caught Pacific Cod offer at the heart of our mission to inspire greater fish consumption on both sides of the Atlantic.”
Woocheen, a Tlingit word that means “working together, but in harmony with your environment” according to CEO Terry Downes, is a $500 million (annual revenues) platform company that revolves around fostering healthy oceans.The Seattle-based holding company brings together expertise in geotechnical services, data sciences, marine construction, and sustainable seafood production.
In addition to its investments in seafood companies, Woocheen has built its marine services business over the past year, as well.
In June 2022, Woocheen acquired a majority stake in Northern Ireland-based Causeway Geotech Limited, one of the leading ground investigation contractors in Ireland and the United Kingdom. A news release on the transaction noted that Causeway would join Gregg Drilling, CS Marine, digital and data companies MBS and Cognitell, and Woocheen’s Marine Services and other construction functions to enhance Woocheen’s hydro sciences business
Woocheen’s mission is to “focus on ocean health and to improve the productivity of our oceans, to get more food from them because it takes the pressure off land, to get energy from them, to heal them and clean them up,” Downes told the Irish Times in an interview last fall.
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