Which Alaska region is home to the most fishing boats and which region produces the most fish?

Those are just a few of the questions answered each year in the highly anticipated Economic Value of Alaska’s Seafood Industry report by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute compiled by the McDowell Group.

The report shows that just under 59,000 workers were directly employed in 2018.

There were 29,400 skippers, active permit owners and crew, of which 56% were Alaska residents. Just over 13,000 fishermen were from outside Alaska.

Alaska processors employed 26,000 workers on average at 166 shore based plants, 49 catcher processors and 10 large floating processors.

Kodiak processors employ the highest percentage of local, year round residents of any other Alaska fishing region at 51%.

Alaska has over 9,000 fishing vessels. More than one third (3,259) are in the 23-32 foot range. Southeast Alaska is home to 2,462 fishing boats, nearly a quarter of the statewide fleet, more than any other region.

About 5.7 billion pounds of seafood worth $2 billion at the docks was harvested in 2017/2018 fisheries.

Salmon was most valuable to fishermen at $744 million, followed by pollock at $461 million.

Alaska seafood was sold in 97 countries around the world in 2018. Alaska is home to nine of the top 10 seafood ports and accounted for two-thirds of the US seafood harvest.

Bristol Bay typically accounts for 42% of the world’s sockeye salmon harvest.

By region the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands accounts for 55% of the fishery value and 81% of volume. Bristol Bay is next at 14% of the value and 4% of volume.

Seafood industry tax revenues topped $172 million in 2018 of which  43% went to the state, ($73 million), 30%  to local governments ($51 million), 23% to salmon hatchery management ($40 million), and 5% to the federal government ($8 million).

Where do most Alaska fishermen live?  The Southcentral region, including Homer, Cordova, Valdez, Kenai and Anchorage, is home to 38% of  resident fishermen, more than any other region.

Seven of the 10 largest shoreside processors invested a total of over $100 million per year in capital expenditures from 2012 to 2016 and spending increased in recent years.

Alaska’s fishing fleet has expanded as well. An average of 75 newly built boats were added to the fleet annually over the 2013-2018 period, representing an estimated average investment of more than $50 million per year.

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