Southeast / Long Beach : Tuna Wholesaler Seeks to Buy Cannery

In a deal that could return up to 700 jobs to the Long Beach area, a San Pedro-based tuna wholesaler is negotiating the purchase of a recently closed Terminal Island cannery.

Tri-Marine International Inc. outbid a leading Thai canning company to acquire Pan Pacific Fisheries in a bankruptcy auction earlier this month. The $6.8-million deal would establish the only full-service cannery in the continental United States, Tri-Marine Vice President Steve Farno said.

Ongoing talks with a local canners union and the Port of Los Angeles, however, have yet to seal the deal.

The port first needs to put a price on the property's lease, Farno said. But more important, he added, is working out a new contract with the nearly 700 employees who were laid off when the cannery closed in September.

"We intend to employ the same union workers," he said. "Many of these people have been there for 20-plus years."

Steve Edney, national director of the United Industrial Workers, which represents local canners, said workers are ready to help make the plant more productive than it was under Pan Pacific.

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