Commercial fisheries in Southwest Alaska’s Bristol Bay, with its highly productive marine ecosystems and bountiful fisheries, generate economic activity equivalent to $4.1billion to $5.4 billion annually, the World Wildlife Fund says.
The details are contained in a report prepared for the environmental organization by Ecotrust, in Portland, Oregon, and released in late December.
Study authors said that the health of Bristol Bay fisheries is not only economically important to the region, but to the nation and the world as a whole, because participants in that fishery and the retailers from whom consumers purchase these wild seafood products come from all over the world.
The Bristol Bay marine ecosystem is well known as the largest sockeye salmon run in the world. It also produces chum salmon, Chinook salmon, red king crab, Pacific halibut and other commercially valuable species.
Average annual landings value from 2005 to 2008 for Bristol Bay commercial fisheries was $463 million, including $154 million for the salmon fishery alone.
The total economic value of commercial harvest may range from a high of $889 million annually to a low of $673 million annually, with the Bristol Bay salmon fishery alone supporting total economic activity in the range of $246 million to $253 million per year, the report said.
Study authors note that the direct value of the fishery at every step supports secondary economic activities. They write that “as the fishery input moves along the value-chain, fishermen and their crew; bait and tackle shop owners and their employees, processors and their workers and suppliers, and retailers earn income,” the report notes. “To the extent that they spend that income on other consumer goods and services, they induce even more secondary economic activity. The multiplier effect captures the indirect and induced economic activity resulting from each step along the supply chain.”