SE Alaska hatcheries boost harvest profits by millions

A study of the economic impact of hatchery fish enhancing salmon stocks shows that the efforts of the Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association resulted in an average ex-vessel value of $16.8 million from 2013 through 2017.

Of that total $12.5 million came from harvests of hatchery chum, $2.8 million from silver and 1.5 million from king salmon, according to the report prepared for the SSRAA by the McDowell Group in Juneau.

During those years of the study, annual harvest of SSRAA salmon in common property fisheries average 22 million pounds, with chum salmon for 89 percent of the volume and 75 percent of the value of the association’s contribution to commercial fisheries.

The cumulative wholesale value of SSRAA salmon for those years was $239 million, including $49 million from sales of cost recovery salmon and $190 million from common property.

The report notes that chum roe is a major driver of the value of SSRAA production, typically representing just under half of the hatchery generated wholesale value.

Based on data provided by the SSRAA, sport anglers harvested 3,150 king and 28,150 coho salmon on average in recent years. The association’s contribution to the overall Southern Southeast Alaska sport harvest from 2013 through 2016 average 11 percent of the kings and 20 percent of cohos.

The McDowell report also noted that the SSRAA employed an average of 60 workers whose wages totaled $3.3 million in wages and had $3.6 million in state expenditures for 2017.

The SSRAA’s total economic impact for 2017 was estimated at 680 jobs and $32 million in labor income, including impacts on commercial fishing, seafood processing, nonresident sportfishing and from SSRAA’s own spending and employment, the report said.