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Feds to Invest $1.5M to Upgrade Queets Fish Processing Facility

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The Quinault Indian Nation has received word that it will receive a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration to help upgrade the Queets fish processing facility.

“This is very good news and the Quinault Nation extends its gratitude to the Obama Administration for its foresight,” said Quinault Tribal President Fawn Sharp. “Getting this fish processing plant up and running will provide important and sustainable jobs in an area that really needs them. It’s anticipated that at least 30 full time jobs will be created for tribal members as well as non-tribal members, ranging from fishermen to workers in the plant itself,” she said.

Sharp pointed out that whenever such jobs are created, the overall economy benefits and more jobs are supported through support industries ranging from home building to grocery stores.

The Queets fish processing facility, a 4500 foot building completed in October, 2013, will soon become a bustling business, from which somewhat unique products will flow, probably by the spring of 2015, according to Sharp. “For far too long, fishermen who harvest chum and pink salmon have had to settle for meager payment for their catch, often as low as 50 cents a pound. This processing plant will produce value-added products.”

She explained that all of the products will be 100 percent pure salmon, FDA and state approved for human consumption and “absolutely delicious.” They will range from salmon pepperoni and hot dogs to salmon bacon and hamburgers.

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There will also be dog and cat treats.

“This concept will be very good for the environment, making very valuable use of fish that have previously been marketable only for their eggs. And we fully anticipate that the products will be so popular, and profitable, that they will sell on the local, national and even the international market,” she said.

She added that expansion of the plant, and the number of jobs associated with it, is a distinct possibility. “The future of this project looks very, very bright,” she said.

In awarding the grant, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said, “The Obama Administration is committed to supporting tribal communities through economic development.”

“I wish to add a special note of gratitude to Mr. Norm Baker, President of Development Research Group, Inc., and to Jim Sellers of our Quinault Tribal Council, without whom this project would not have been possible,” said Sharp.