Economic Value of the Alaska Seafood IndustryA recently published study sponsored by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute highlights the economic impact of Alaska seafood within the State, the Pacific Northwest and the country as a whole. Conducted by the McDowell Group, the report details direct, indirect and induced economic effects generated by the Alaska seafood industry. The McDowell Group also provides substantial background information, harvest totals, production values and overall participation in the industry.

A summary of key points made in the report, detailing the effects of Alaska fisheries on the economies of the United States, Washington State and Alaska, is shown below. Results are based on the latest data available, most of which was published in 2011.

Impacts on the United Stated Economy

  • Alaska seafood represents about ten percent by value of the total US seafood supply that includes domestic production and imports.
  • Alaska seafood represents 58 percent of all seafood exported from the US with a value of $3.2 billion. Yearly domestic consumption of Alaska seafood in 2011 totaled roughly 820 million pounds with a value of $2 billion.
  • While many Americans believe that all salmon comes from Alaska, in reality it only represents 23 percent of the domestic market for the fish. Most salmon purchased by American consumers is imported from farms.
  • Within the United States, Alaska’s seafood industry is mostly an export based economic asset that brings some $3.2 billion of new money into the overall national economy.

Impacts on the Alaskan Economy

  • The seafood industry employs 63,100 people in Alaska or about 12.5 percent of the state’s population. Alaskan labor generated $4.6 billion worth of seafood and $1.7 billion in wage income.
  • Businesses that support the Alaskan seafood industry have created jobs for about 77,400 within the state.
  • As the second largest industry sector in the state, Alaska’s seafood industry employs more people than its visitor and mining industry sectors combined.
  • The back haul of seafood freight containers lowers northbound shipping costs for Alaskans by roughly 10 percent.

Impacts on the State of Washington

  • The Alaska seafood industry created some 34,500 jobs, with $1.9 billion in wages during 2011 in Washington State.
  • About 10,000 Washington residents worked directly in Alaska with employment related to the seafood industry. Another 7,000 people in Washington State work in businesses and agencies that are supported by the Alaska seafood industry.
  • While the population of Washington is much bigger than Alaska, one percent of its population works in Alaska seafood industry related jobs.

The McDowell Group report notes, “Alaska accounts for over half of U.S. wild-caught seafood production, by volume. If Alaska were a country, it would be the world’s 7th largest seafood exporter, by value. The Alaska seafood industry is a powerful economic engine within Alaska, but also creates significant impacts in the “Lower 48.”

The report, Economic Value of the Alaska Seafood Industry, can be downloaded directly from the ASMI website. This document is an excellent resource for those interested in learning more about the Alaska seafood industry and provides solid background information on this industry sector.

Copyright © 2013 by Alan Sorum

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