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Alaska crab fisheries. (Photo: ASMI)

Alaska global leader in commercial fisheries: study

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Thursday, February 24, 2011, 00:40 (GMT + 9)

A new study by Alaska-based Northern Economics shows that the state’s seafood industry is not only a national but also a global juggernaut in sustainable commercial fisheries. The seafood industry’s local and statewide impact is huge: the fisheries in Alaskan and federal waters off the state’s coast provide work to more than 80,800 people and yield more than USD 3.3 billion in wholesale value every year. 

Alaska fisheries. (Photo:PSPA)

The Marine Conservation Alliance- (MCA) funded study -- “Seafood Industry in Alaska’s Economy” -- constitutes an update of the 2009 report by the same name and is available online on the MCA website.

“The seafood industry operates in dozens of communities along Alaska’s entire coastline,” remarked MCA President Frank Kelty. “We create family-wage jobs where no other opportunities exist, and we bring significant new money into the state.”

This year’s executive summary update informed that Alaska ranked first of all 50 states in both volume and value of commercial fisheries landings in 2009 with 1.84 million tonnes worth USD 1.3 billion. The nationwide harvest volume was 3.6 million tonnes, informed the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

Real Wholesale Value by Species, 2003-2009. (Source: Hiatt, 2007 and Hiatt, 2010b -marineconservationalliance) 

Alaska’s seafood industry contributed USD 4.6 billion to its economic output in 2009.

Other points made in the study regarding the importance of Alaska to the global seafood market include:

  • If Alaska were a country of its own, it would have come 14th among seafood producing countries in 2008, according to NMFS and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
  • The state’s landings of global groundfish species groups -- such as cod, pollock, hake and haddock – and flatfish made up 18 per cent of the global harvest of these species in 2008.
  • That same year, some 35 per cent of the world’s capture production of species in the salmon, trout and smelt group happened in Alaska’s waters.
  • Alaska was responsible for 95 per cent of the US’s Pacific salmon landings in 2009.
  • In 2009, Alaska exported USD 1.6 billion worth of seafood directly to Japan, China, South Korea, Canada and the European Union (EU), among other destinations.
  • That same year, Alaskan fish and fisheries products were exported mainly to Japan followed by China, South Korea, Germany, the Netherlands and Canada, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Related article:

- Alaskan salmon yields historic USD 534 mln in 2010 

By Natalia Real


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