Alaska Seafood Industry Continues to Prove Vital to State Economy
Study reports that statewide Alaska seafood employment,
value and investments show continued strength
(JUNEAU, Alaska) – The 2020 update of The Economic Value of Alaska’s Seafood Industry report finds that statewide Alaska seafood value, employment and investments continue to show economic strength. Ex-vessel and first wholesale values as well as employment in most regions have grown since 2015/2016. The state’s seafood industry employs nearly 60,000 workers annually in Alaska, and contributes $2.1 billion of labor income, second only to oil and gas among private sector industries.
“The true value of Alaska seafood extends well beyond the price at the dock,” said Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) Executive Director Jeremy Woodrow. “ASMI works closely with the Alaska seafood industry to increase the value of the state’s seafood resource to benefit Alaskans and Alaska’s communities.”
Within Alaska, seafood continues to play a critical role in creating value for Alaskans:
- Approximately 5.7 billion pounds of seafood worth $2.0 billion was harvested annually in 2017/2018, and processors turned this harvest into product worth $4.7 billion.
- The seafood industry directly employs nearly 60,000 workers in Alaska each year. Including multiplier effects, it is the third-largest basic sector job creator in Alaska after the oil-and-gas and visitor industries. Seafood is the economic foundation of many rural communities.
- The Alaska seafood industry employs over 16,300 resident fishermen, 7,300 resident processors, and 6,600 fishing vessels are resident-owned. Each fishing operation represents a business generating new income from a renewable resource.
- Seafood is the state’s largest international export by volume and value, and is the largest manufacturing sector in Alaska. The sector includes 166 shore-based plants, 49 catcher-processors, 10 floating processors, and various other participants. Seafood accounted for 70% of the state’s manufacturing employment in 2018 with nearly 26,000 workers.
Alaska harvests more wild-caught seafood than all other states combined and is a key component in the national seafood industry:
- Nationally, the Alaska seafood industry creates over 100,000 full time equivalent jobs, $5.6 billion in annual labor income and $13.9 billion in economic output.
- The state exports more than 2.2 billion pounds of seafood annually, returning over $3.2 billion of new money into the U.S. economy each year.
- Since statehood in 1959, Alaska’s seafood industry has harvested 181 billion pounds of fish. The industry produces enough seafood to feed everybody in the world at least one serving of Alaska seafood annually.
Investments made by the Alaska seafood industry play a long-term role in increasing the value of Alaska seafood and sustaining the economic resiliency of Alaska:
- The seafood industry provides economies of scale and economic activity which lowers the cost of utilities, shipping, fuel and local taxes for residents in many Alaska communities.
- Seven of the 10 largest shoreside processors invested a total of over $100 million per year in capital expenditure from 2012-2016 – spending that is closely tied to resource value and has increased in recent years.
- An average of 68 newly-built fishing boats were added to the fleet annually over the 2013-2018 period, representing an average investment of more than $50 million per year.
- The value of Alaska’s seafood production has exceeded $4.0 billion since 2011.
Alaska commercial seafood industry revenues collected in the form of taxes, fees and self-assessments returned $73 million to state government, $51 million to local governments, $40 million to salmon enhancement operations, and $5 million to the federal government.
Originally published in 2013 and updated in 2015, 2017 and 2020, the report is prepared by McDowell Group for ASMI. The study details the economic importance of Alaska’s commercial seafood industry on the local, state and national level. The 2019 Economic Value of Alaska’s Seafood Industry report may be found online at www.alaskaseafood.org/industry/economic-impact/. Printed copies will be available at Comfish in Kodiak, March 26-28, 2020 at the ASMI booth.
About Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute:
The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) is a partnership between the State of Alaska and the Alaska seafood industry promoting the benefits of wild and sustainable Alaska seafood and offering seafood industry education. The seafood industry is Alaska’s largest basic private sector employer with nearly 60 percent of all wild seafood and 90-95 percent of wild salmon harvested in the U.S. coming from Alaska. In addition to wild salmon, Alaska is known for its crab and whitefish varieties such as Pacific cod, sablefish, halibut, Alaska pollock, sole and rockfish – available fresh or frozen year-round. Alaska has been dedicated to sustainable seafood for more than 50 years and is the only state with a constitution that mandates all seafood be managed under the sustained yield principle. Alaska has taken a leadership role in setting the global standard for precautionary resource management to protect fisheries and surrounding habitats for future generations and leading to an ever-replenishing supply of wild seafood for markets worldwide.