Fish Radio
March 26, 2013

Behnken baits up! Credit:

Behnken baits up!

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – A 10 year snapshot of Alaska commercial fishing jobs and earnings. More after this —

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Over the past decade, average employment for Alaska commercial fishermen was down slightly, but gross earnings were up and that is a better measure of industry health. That’s the conclusion of the state Labor Department’s publication Economic Trends, which focuses on Alaska fishing jobs and earnings in seven regions. The latest data updates information from 2002 through 2010…

There were 6,915 fishermen working each month on average in 2010, a decline of 2.4 percent from the previous year and down 7.6 percent from 2005. Most of the fishing jobs were for salmon at 50.2%; followed by halibut at 20.1%; and groundfish at 8.1%.

Southeast Alaska had the largest harvesting work force in 2010, and grew by 146 to 9,182 fishermen. The region ranked third in gross earnings at $208 million, an all time high.

The South central region ranked second for fishing jobs with 2,200 active permit holders. South-central fishermen also set a record in earnings last year at nearly $265 million.

Kodiak fisheries are among the most stable in Alaska, with the number of active permit holders holding at around 800 and crewmembers at 2,571. Earnings by Kodiak fishermen last year were $118 million, a 41 percent increase over 2005.

Alaska’s northern region has the smallest workforce but has shown steady growth in jobs and earnings, doubling last year to over $4 million. The Aleutians and Pribilof Islands were the leader in gross earnings for fishermen at nearly $500 million last year, although the number of local fishermen has declined over six years.

Bristol Bay’s earnings and harvesting employment have grown the most over the last six years. In 2010, the region’s gross earnings topped $169 million, a 72 percent increase from 2005. Harvesting employment in the same period rose by 381 workers, to 7,225.

Alaska fishermen caught nearly 4.5 billion pounds of seafood in 2011 worth $1.6 billion. — more than all of the other US states combined.

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Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods. Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network, and is committed to ending hunger in America. Visit their new web site at In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.