Astoria Fisheries Auction

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Bristol Bay Fishing Jobs Outnumber Pebble Mine Work

Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay says the total economic contribution and number of fisheries jobs in the bay continue to outnumber offerings at the Pebble mine project in Southwest Alaska.

The harvesters’ organization issued its statement on Jan. 31 in response to a study released by the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Institute of Social and Economic Research on local jobs and income in Southwest Alaska generated by the Pebble exploration project.

The harvesters point to a 2010 ISER study on the economic importance of the Bristol Bay salmon industry. It said that sockeye salmon fishery supported 12,000 fishing and processing jobs during the summer salmon fishing season.

“The Economic Importance of the Bristol Bay Salmon Industry,” prepared for the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, is online at http://www.iser.uaa.alaska.edu/Publications/2013_04-TheEconomicImportanceOfTheBristolBaySalmonIndustry.pdf

“Measuring these as year-round jobs, and adding jobs created in other industries, the Bristol Bay salmon fishery created the equivalent of almost 10,000 year-round American jobs across the country, and brought Americans $500 million in income,” said the ISER report on Bristol Bay. “For every dollar of direct output value created in Bristol Bay fishing and processing, more than two additional dollars of output value are created in other industries, as payments from the Bristol Bay fishery ripple through the economy.”

According to the new ISER report on Pebble by Robert Loeffler and Jennifer Schmidt, the exploration project brought more income into the Lakes region of Southwest Alaska from 2009 through 2012 than did either commercial salmon fishing or Permanent Fund dividends.

Average pay was $19 an hour and most workers earned on average about $15,000 a year from the mostly seasonal jobs, the report said.

That full report is online at http://www.iser.uaa.alaska.edu/Publications/2017_01-LocalJobsAndIncomeFromMineralExploration.pdf

The report notes that Loeffler’s position as a visiting professor, and his work, were funded by a grant to the University of Alaska Foundation from the Council of Alaska Producers, a statewide trade association representing Alaska’s mining industry.

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