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Seafood still ranks as employment, economic leader

February 23rd, 2011 | Margaret Bauman Print this article   Email this article  

A new report produced by an Anchorage economics firm shows that Alaska's seafood industry remains a robust global leader in development of sustainable commercial fisheries, the Marine Conservation Alliance said Feb. 22.

The study by Northern Economics, financed by MCA, is an update of the 2009 Seafood Industry in Alaska's Economy report produced by Northern Economics.

The most significant thing about the report is that it reflects the continued overall health of the Alaska seafood industry, said Frank Kelty, MCA president, and a veteran of many years in the commercial fisheries business.

The seafood industry, including fisheries in state and federal waters, now employs more than 70,000 people, and generates more than $3.3 billion in annual wholesale value.

"The seafood industry operates in dozens of communities along Alaska's entire coastline," Kelty said. "We create family-wage jobs where no other opportunities exist, and we bring significant new money into the state."

Researchers with Northern Economics noted in the report that if it were a nation, Alaska would place 14th among seafood producing countries in 2008, and that the seafood industry, through direct, indirect and induced effects, contributed a total of $4.6 billion to Alaska's economic output in 2009.

The report also found that the 2010 salmon season was one of the best on record, with almost 170 million fish harvested in Alaska, the 11th highest number since statehood. Preliminary 2010 estimates show that the salmon harvest generated $533.9 million, the highest ex-vessel value in 18 years.

The report also notes that Alaska landings of global groundfish species groups, including cod, Pollock, hake and haddock, and flatfish accounted for 18 percent of the world harvest of these species groups in 2008.

In 2009, $1.6 billion worth of seafood was exported directly from Alaska to destinations including Japan, China, South Korea, Canada and Europe, with Japan the leading direct importer in value of Alaska fish and fisheries products, followed by China, south Korea, Germany, the Netherlands and Canada.

The full report is online at

MCA, based in Juneau, is a coalition of seafood processors, harvesters, support industries and coastal communities active in Alaska fisheries. MCA represents approximately 75 percent of the participants in Alaska shellfish and groundfish fisheries and promotes science based conservation measures to ensure sustainable fisheries in Alaska.


Margaret Bauman can be reached at, or by phone at 907-348-2438

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