NOAA Fisheries updates progress in sustainably managed fisheries

An update on federal fisheries economics released by NOAA Fisheries shows that the commercial fishing and seafood industry, including imports, generated $144 million in sales in 2015, the latest year for which all data was available.

That was a 6 percent decline from 2014. The industry also supported 1.2 million jobs in 2015, down 15 percent from 2014, but still above the five-year average.

In 2015 the industry provided for 53,441 jobs in Alaska, including 37,762 for commercial harvesters, 12,384 jobs for seafood processors and dealers, 24 jobs for importers, 365 jobs for seafood wholesalers and distributors and 2,905 jobs in retail trade.  Imports included, the Alaska seafood industry had $4.4 million in sales and $1.8 million in income.

Factors including the “warm blob,” marine toxins and El Nino affected the Pacific marine environment in 2015, and West Coast fishermen saw lower landings and revenue for several key commercial species.

A second NOAA Fisheries report showed that domestic commercial fisheries continued to rebuild in 2016, with the number of stocks on the overfishing and overfished lists remaining near all-time lows. A stock is listed as overfished when the catch rate is too high, and as overfished when the population size of a stock is too low, either because of fishing or other causes, such as environmental changes. “These reports show that the U.S. is on the right track when it comes to sustainably managing our fisheries, said Sam Rauch, acting assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries.

“Rebuilding and keeping stocks at sustainable levels will help us address the growing challenge of increasing our nation’s seafood supply and keep us competitive in a global marketplace.”

Combined commercial and recreational fishing generated $208 billion in sales, contributing $97 billion to the gross domestic product in 2015,while supporting 1.6 million full time and part time jobs, which was above the five year average.

The complete “NOAA’s Fisheries Economics of the United States” is online at

https://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/economics/publications/feus/fisheries_economics_2015/index

Also released on May 9 was NOAA Fisheries annual stock status update, online at

http://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/sfa/fisheries_eco/status_of_fisheries/status_updates.html