Seafood industry executives, politicians, fishermen and others have been paying tributes to the man who "built and helmed a company that would forever change the course of the Alaska seafood industry," following the passing of seafood industry legend Chuck Bundrant on Sunday Oct. 17 at the age of 79.
United States Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska paid tribute to Bundrant on Sunday on Twitter, remembering him as a fisherman who forever changed the seafood industry in Alaska.
The National Fisheries Institute (NFI) President John Connelly echoed these sentiments, calling Bundrant "a dreamer who took a 130-foot boat and from it built an enterprise that included reshaping a mountain to build a fish processing plant that fed millions of families."
Those that knew him well will relay the stories of his fierce competitiveness in building Trident Seafoods, Connelly said.
"But the same competitors will share the stories of Chuck flying a helicopter to bring to safety and medical care crew members from a stranded competitor’s boat," he added.
"And they are likely to remind us all of the special attention Chuck paid to the communities in Alaska in which he built or operated his seafood plants."
"Few women or men can know that they bettered the lives of thousands of people by creating livelihoods for families around the world," Connelly said. "Chuck Bundrant could say that."
Groundfish Forum Chairman and Espersen CEO Klaus Nielsen, in a statement sent to IntraFish, called Bundrant "an icon in the seafood industry worldwide, and all of us looked upon him with great admiration."
With great diligence and perseverance, Chuck built from the ground up one of the largest and most valuable seafood companies in the United States, Trident Seafoods.
Although Trident became a large company, one could always notice that the company maintained the values that family companies do, emphasizing quality and safety, welfare of its employees and constructive interaction with all stakeholders.
Along with Trident's strong development, the company also had a significant economic and social impact, for example on Alaska and Washington. It was always apparent how important it was for Chuck to have a positive impact on the community.
I was honored to getting to know Chuck during his career. Our paths also coincided at the Groundfish Forum, and it was remarkable how much respect he enjoyed within the sector. He always showed great interest in the work of the Forum and was inspired by fisheries matters around the world, fishermen's welfare and safety, consumer issues, environmental issues and more. I trust that his influence will last a long time in the industry.
I want to send my deepest condolences to Diane, Joe, Jill and Julie, and all the family members, which I know had a prominent place in his heart during his lifetime.
'Billion dollar fish'
The Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP) said "a legend has departed the wild Alaska pollock industry today, leaving behind a legacy that will never be forgotten."
GAPP heralded Bundrant for having the "dream and the courage to literally reshape mountains," and for helping to build a market for wild Alaska pollock that would ultimately become a "billion dollar fish."
The association said the Trident founder would be "surely missed" by so many people whose lives he touched across the industry, including the communities of Alaska where he built and operated seafood plants.
"As will his passion for Alaska Seafood, including wild Alaska pollock. He was an evangelist for the fish around the world, an advocacy he’s instilled in his children and all that work for Trident," said GAPP.
Dozens of social media posts rolled in throughout the evening and morning. IntraFish will select and post some of these, and update the story with new posts throughout the day.