In Alaska’s fisheries, the regions of Southeast, Cook Inlet, Bristol Bay and Kodiak attract the most attention. But it turns out that the more far flung and remote areas provide some of the state’s biggest fish bucks – notably, the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands regions, called BS/AI.

A new McDowell Group report measures the statewide economic impacts of shoreside processing operations in Dutch Harbor, Saint Paul, King Cove, Sand Point, False Pass, and other small communities.

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It turns out that that approximately 30 percent of the seafood industry’s total economic impact in Alaska can be attributed to BS/AI inshore processing and related fishing activity, adding up to nearly $1.6 billion in 2016.

Forty-four percent of all seafood processing wages paid in Alaska stem from that region, totaling almost $440 million.  And a whopping 56 percent of all fish taxes paid in Alaska, including Fisheries Business Tax and taxes levied by local governments, totaling nearly $60 million.

Unalaska/Dutch Harbor, with a population of about 4,300, is the largest community in the region and has been the top seafood port in the U.S. by volume for more than 20 years. Forty seven percent of the town’s workers were employed in seafood processing. All other BS/AI communities have fewer than 1,000 residents.

The seasonality and huge volumes of seafood require bringing in workers from elsewhere, but the proportion of Alaska residents on the job in the BS/AI has increased from 17 to 24 percent since 2006.

Sand Point, home to 915 residents, is home to one of the largest fishing fleets in the region for both whitefish and salmon.

The McDowell report was produced for Icicle Seafoods Peter Pan Seafoods Trident Seafoods UniSea, Westward and Alyeska Seafoods.

It’s an easy read with lots of eye opening fish nuggets.

Find links to the “Economic impact of inshore seafood processing in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands Region” here

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