Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Seafood Added $5.6B to Alaska Economy in 2017–2018

Alaska’s seafood industry added $5.6 billion in economic output to the state economy in 2017–2018, employing nearly 59,000 workers in harvesting, processing and other industry-related jobs who earned a combined $1.7 billion in wages.

The 29,400 commercial fishermen employed in harvesting fish in each of those year came away with earnings of more than $1 billion.

The 5.7 billion pounds of seafood worth $2 billion that was harvested annually in those years was turned by processors into 2.8 billion pounds of seafood product worth $4.7 billion. Exports of about two thirds of Alaska seafood, in sales value for 2018, went to 97 countries, while the other third was purchased domestically.

The processing sector employs an average of 26,000 workers at 166 shore-based plants, 49 catcher-processor vessels and about 10 large floating processors. The industry also supports more than 40 different occupations, including vessel builders, shipyard workers, machinists, engineers, electricians, cooks and laborers.

In fact, the seafood industry directly employs more workers than any other private sector industry in Alaska and is the foundation of many rural communities.

The national economic impact of the Alaska’s seafood industry includes $8.0 billion in multiplier effects generated as industry income circulates throughout the country economy.

The study, prepared by McDowell Group in Juneau, Alaska, is the latest report on the economic value of the state’s seafood industry. The group compiled the report with consideration only for the commercial seafood industry and does not account for the additional multi-million-dollar economic impact of recreational, charter and subsistence fisheries in Alaska. It was prepared for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, a public-private partnership of the state and the seafood industry. According to the report, the state’s commercial fleet includes more than 9,000 vessels, which if lined up bow to stern, would span over 64 miles. Regardless of vessel size or involvement, each fishing operation represents a business generating new income from a renewable resource.

Since statehood in 1959, Alaska’s commercial fisheries have produced more than 181 billion pounds of seafood, or 12.9 billing servings annually, enough to feed everyone in the world at least one serving each year.

Regional economic trends in the seafood industry documented by the report show that the number of resident commercial fishermen has declined from 3,489 in 2012 to 2,590 in 2018, while the gross earnings of those harvesters rose from $19 million to $20 million. The value of regional harvests rose from $11 million to $13 million and first wholesale value rose from $13 million to $17 million for those years.

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