Fish Radio

Groundfish boosts Alaska fishing jobs

November 19, 2015

Pollock fishing aboard the F/V Ocean Hope 3 Credit:

Pollock fishing aboard the F/V Ocean Hope 3

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch — Alaska’s fishing jobs continue to grow, thanks to groundfish. More after this –

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Alaska’s seafood industry puts more people to work than oil and gas, mining, tourism and logging combined. And the numbers continue to grow, thanks to increased catches of groundfish, primarily pollock and cod.

According to the November issue of Alaska Economic Trends by the state Department of Labor, fishing employment grew by 0.7 percent last year, boosted by 350 jobs in groundfish harvesting – a nearly 25 percent increase.   Gains were made in every month of the year, with employment records set in March and December.

Groundfish jobs in Kodiak increased by nearly 17 percent in 2014.

Groundfish dominates poundage landed for all Alaska fisheries, and last year’s catches increased that share to 84 percent, up from 73 percent in 2013. Nationally, Alaska provided nearly 65 percent of all groundfish harvests.

Other highlights show that Alaska provided a whopping 95 percent of wild salmon to the U.S. last year.

Southeast Alaska’s share of  harvesting jobs declined 2 percent in 2014, but still has the highest percentage of industry employment in the state.    Southeast’s Dungeness crab fishery gained 29 jobs, for nearly 20 percent growth.   Overall, Alaska crab harvesting gained 12 jobs, or about 2 percent.

The Aleutians and Pribilof Islands’ ranked second with triple digit average annual employment in salmon, halibut, groundfish, and crab harvesting.

The South-central Region, which includes the Prince William Sound and Cook Inlet salmon and halibut fisheries, came in third for fishing jobs, followed by Kodiak.

It comes as a surprise to many that Anchorage is home to more skippers than any other Alaska community, and nearly 2,200 commercial fishing permit holders live in that region.

Find links to the Economic Trends report, which also profiles King Cove, at our website –

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, an Alaska company proudly supporting Alaska’s coastal communities and the Alaskans who depend on fishing for their livelihoods and culture.    In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.