Fisheries
2:24 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

A New Report Documents the Economic Value of the Alaska Seafood Industry

Commercial fishing vessels waiting on fishing time in the Dillingham Harbor during the 2012 season.
Credit Mike Mason

The value of the seafood from Alaska in 2011 was well over $6-billion dollars according to a new report from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. The report is titled the “Economic Value of the Alaska Seafood Industry” and it was prepared for ASMI by the McDowell Group.

It’s the first time such a report was put together that considers all of the direct, indirect, and other economic effects of the Alaska seafood industry. The report shows that in 2011 the seafood industry employed about 94-thousand people with earnings of about $2.8-billion dollars. This includes about 32-thousand harvesters and another 32-thousand processors. The report puts the value of the Alaska seafood exports and the subsequent retail value of that seafood at about $6.4-billion dollars in 2011. The McDowell Group notes that the total direct and secondary economic output in the U.S. stemming from the Alaska seafood industry was estimated at $15.7-billion dollars in 2011.

As part of the new report the researchers tried to document Alaska’s role in the national seafood supply. The report shows that Alaska seafood accounted for about 10-percent of the total U.S. seafood supply in 2011 while the seafood caught in Alaska made up about 58-percent of all the seafood exported out of the U.S. The seafood industry is a major player in the Alaska economy and the new report shows that the industry directly employs over 63-thousand people in Alaska and about 1 in every 8 workers in Alaska earned at least part of their annual income directly from the seafood industry in 2011. If you expand that to include business and personal spending the job total jumps up to well over 77-thousand. The report shows that the seafood industry directly employed about 27.2-thousand Alaska residents in 2011. That includes just over 18-thousand commercial fishermen. The data shows that from Kodiak to Bristol Bay over 1 in 4 residents are employed in the seafood industry. If you include both direct and secondary impacts, the commercial seafood industry in Alaska accounts for 9-percent of all the jobs, which makes the industry the largest private sector employer in the state.

One of the goals of the new report was to document the economic impact of the Alaska seafood industry on the nation as a whole and select areas. For instance in 2011 the industry created about 34.5-thousand jobs for residents of Washington state and over 10-thousand Washington residents physically worked in Alaska.

Besides looking at the economic impact on areas outside of Alaska the new report includes detailed information about the seafood industries impact on specific regions of the state. For instance in 2011 the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Region produced about $2.4-billion dollars worth of seafood and the seafood industry employed over 15-thousand people. About 2.5-thousand of those people were full-time residents. The Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Region accounted for 73-percent of the statewide commercial harvest in 2011 and Pollock made up over half of the region’s wholesale value. In the Bristol Bay region the seafood industry directly employed about 13.2-thousand people in 2011 and the new report shows that about 49-percent of all working age adults in the region directly participate in the seafood industry. The industry accounted for about 45-percent of all the labor income earned in the region in 2011. The new report shows that the first wholesale value of the seafood harvested in 2011 in the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim region was $19.8-million dollars and the seafood industry directly employed over 4-thousand people.

The new report was prepared for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, which is a partnership between the State of Alaska and the Alaska Seafood Industry. The organization basically serves as the seafood marketing arm of the state. The new report can be found on the ASMI website at www.alaskaseafood.org.