February 23, 2017

Fishermen’s Terminal, Seattle, WA


Alaska’s seafood industry puts more people to work than any other private industry, topping 60,000 workers in 2015. Of that, less than half – 27,600 – were Alaska residents.

And while 71 percent of active fishing permit holders call Alaska home, most of the gross earnings go to the state of Washington.

Based on numbers from the United Fishermen of Alaska’s annual Fish Facts, resident fishing permit holders made gross dockside earnings of just over $602 million two years ago.

That compares to more than $904 million by nearly 6,580 Washington-based  permit holders and crew. Fishermen  from Oregon took home more than $126 million from Alaska’s fisheries and Californians pocketed nearly $28 million. That adds up to more than $1 Billion flowing out of state by non-resident fishermen.

In terms of poundage, the harvest by Alaska residents is estimated at 1.4 billion pounds. For Washington, the estimates skyrockets to 4 billion pounds, driven by that state’s dominance in the pollock and other whitefish sectors.

For seafood processing – when you’re handling millions of tons of fish in some of Alaska’s most far flung regions, there’s really no such thing as a resident work force. The Fish Facts show that Alaska resident processing jobs topped 8,000 two years ago out of more than 27,000 processing workers.

A McDowell Group report says Alaska has 176 shore-based plants, 73 catcher-processors, and more than a dozen floating processors that make up Alaska’s seafood processing sector.

Total   ex-vessel income from Alaska fisheries two years ago was $1.8 billion. fishermen earned the lion’s share at $920 million, or 38 percent of all direct labor income generated by the  seafood industry.

Fishing-related taxes paid totaled $250 million, of which 38 percent went to local governments, 55 percent to the state and 7 percent to the federal government.