Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Investment in PWSAC Yields Big Bang for Every Buck

A study of the economic impact of Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corp. on Alaska’s seafood industry, sport, subsistence and personal use fisheries shows that PWSAC got a pretty big bang for its buck – a 271-to-1 return on its investment.

The economic impact study, prepared by the McDowell Group in Juneau, concludes that for every dollar of net grant funding the state of Alaska invested in PWSAC facilities since 1975, Alaska’s seafood industry received $271 worth of PWSAC salmon. And, the study notes, commercial fishermen received $23 worth of PWSAC salmon for every dollar of enhancement taxes they have paid since 1990.

Significant benefits to the state and regional economy are outlined in the study, along with ways in which the programs could be expanded to produce greater economic benefit. The study covered direct and indirect job creation and earnings, and examined market conditions for salmon species.

Researchers at the McDowell group concluded that PWSAC salmon created an annual average of $51 million in total labor income for an average of 2,495 workers, and that commercial fishermen collectively earned average gross revenues of $48 million annually harvesting PWSAC salmon. The salmon harvest is dominated by Alaska residents with participation by harvesters from Dutch Harbor to Delta Junction to Petersburg, researchers said.

Ten years after Alaska’s “salmon value crisis,” the industry outlook is strong due to the expansion of the global market, a diversified product supply, a sustained marketing effort and a more educated consumer, the study said. “Providing additional pink salmon to the Prince William Sound fisheries would have a clear financial impact on fishermen and processors in the short term, and would create jobs in the long term, according to the study.

This is the fifth study in a series of PWSAC impact reports prepared by McDowell Group since 2001. Most data covered in the report reflects the recent five-year period, from 2007 through 2011, but historical PWSAC data since 1990 is also included. PWSAC is a private nonprofit corporation established to produce hatchery-born, ocean-raised wild salmon for commercial, sport, personal use and subsistence fisheries of the Prince William Sound region. PWSAC operations are financed primarily by a cost-recovery program and supplemented by a voluntary salmon enhancement tax paid by commercial fishermen.

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