Washington trawlers tied up at Dutch Harbor, AK           Credit: NOAA

As Alaska struggles to find new sources of revenue, its leaders might look to reining in the losses from fish and crab that go elsewhere.

Data compiled each year by NOAA research economists at the Seattle-based Alaska Fisheries Science Center provide a breakdown of the shares of all groundfish ex-vessel values, meaning dock side, by boat owners’ state of residency.

The foregone fish bucks show that for all groundfish taken in Alaska in 2020 in federally managed fisheries, meaning from three to 200 miles from shore, a .78 share of the value went to non-Alaska owned vessels.

 By species, examples show that .75 of all flatfish values were taken by non-Alaska vessels, a .69 share  of Pacific cod, .88 for pollock, .69 for all rockfish, and .38 for sablefish or black cod.

For the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands, a .83 share of the value of all groundfish was taken by non-Alaska vessels; including a .71 share of cod, .91 of pollock and .71 of sablefish value.

The combined Bering Sea and Gulf groundfish catches added up to a dockside value of $981 million.

It’s less of a loss in the Gulf of Alaska where in 2020, a .40 value share of all groundfish was taken by Outside vessels, including .40 of all flatfish, .15 of cod, .47 of Gulf pollock, and a .34 value share of sablefish.

For Bering Sea crab: documents from NOAA Fisheries for 2019/2020 show that 52 Alaska residents own 31% of the Bering Sea snow crab quota share pool while 200 non-residents own 66% of the quota pool.

Similar proportions apply for Tanner crab. For Bristol Bay red king crab, closed this season for the first time in 25 years, 49 Alaskans own 28% of the quota share pool; 181 Outsiders own 70% of the crab shares.

 For snow crab, gross revenues to harvesters totaled $108.38 million based on an average price of $3.98 per pound. Fifteen Alaska-based vessels took 24% of the dockside dollars while 36 Washington-based boats took 64%.

For Bristol Bay red king crab, gross earnings were $44.8 million, based on an average price of $11.87 per pound.  Eighteen of the permit holders were Alaska-based and pocketed 28% of the revenues, while 41 non-residents pocketed 72% of the landed crab values.

The out of state information, plus an incredible array of user friendly data, is amassed by the Alaska Fisheries Information Network , or AKFIN, APEX reporting system with annual inputs from the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game, the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission and NOAA Fisheries.

It includes Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation, called SAFE reports, for all groundfish and crab species, the numbers and types of vessels fishing in Alaska, wholesale and dockside values and prices, landings and values by fisheries, distributions of quota share holdings, harvesting and processing employment numbers and much more.

Updated data was posted on December 1, 2021.