Seafood industry plugs billions into economy

Study shows the 2015/2016 economic impact for Alaska was $5.2 B

A latest economic report from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute documents the continuing lucrative impact that the seafood industry has on state’s economy, with some 56,800 workers and a $5.2 billion economic output for 2015/2016.

The Economic Value of Alaska’s Seafood Industry for those years, released by ASMI in late September, updates and builds on prior studies published in 2013 and 2015 by the McDowell Group in Juneau. The report summarizes overall commercial fishing industry participation, value and exports, and highlights the impact the industry has on tax revenues, investment and charitable giving by the industry and the value of industry assets.

Of the 56,800 workers who held seafood industry jobs in Alaska in 2015/2016, 29,200 of them – including 16,500 Alaskans – were engaged in commercial fishing and earned $824 million. Another 24,500 people who worked in processing – including some 7,200 Alaskans – earned $467 million, while 3,200 workers in management, hatcheries and other areas of the industry earned $228 million, the report said.

The 2016 seafood harvest of 5.6 billion pounds had a total ex-vessel value of $1.7 billion.  Processors produced 2.7 billion pounds of Alaska seafood product sin 2016, worth a first wholesale value of $4.2 billion.

On a national scale, the Alaska seafood industry creates an estimated 99,000 full time equivalency jobs, $5.2 billion in annual labor income, and $12.8 billion in economic output.

The national economic impacts of Alaska’s seafood industry include $5.4 billion in direct output associated with fishing, processing, distribution and retail.  It also includes $7.3 billion in multiplier effects generated as industry income circulates throughout the nation’s economy.

In 2016, the industry attracted some 29,600 residents of other states who came to work in harvesting and processing.

Alaska’s seafood exports of more than one million metric tons of seafood annually bring over $3 billion of new money into the nation’s economy.

Since statehood in 1959, commercial fisheries in Alaska have produced over 169 billion pounds of seafood, with the largest harvest to date 5.1 billion pounds in 2015.

The study notes that salmon is still king in Alaska, having the greatest economic impact. Alaska salmon alone contributed some 32,900 full time equivalent jobs and $1.7 billion in annual labor income to the nation’s economy in 2015/2016.

As the largest single species U.S. fishery by volume, Alaska Pollock is a close second. Much of the Pollock’s value is added through processing, both shoreside and at sea. Pollock’s national economic impact includes an estimated 28,700 full time equivalent jobs and $1.5 billion in labor income, the report said.

Halibut, black cod and crab, despite accounting for 2 percent of harvest volume, are high value species, and represent 19 percent of the labor income and economic output produced by the Alaska seafood industry.

Top Alaska fishing ports, by first wholesale value, were Dutch Harbor, $474 million; Naknek, $292 million; Kodiak, $262 million; Cordova, $134 million, and Sitka, $121 million.

The complete report is online at