Alaska Seafood Industry Continues Legacy as Economic Cornerstone for Alaska


For Immediate Release: Oct. 4, 2017
Contact: ASMI – Jeremy Woodrow, 907-465-5560,
McDowell Group – Andy Wink, 907-209-2135,

Alaska Seafood Industry Continues Legacy as Economic Cornerstone for Alaska
Study finds that Alaska seafood directly employs more workers than any other private industry

Juneau, Alaska – The updated Economic Value of Alaska’s Seafood Industry report finds that Alaska’s seafood industry remains a key driver of the state’s economy. The Alaska seafood industry employs nearly 60,000 workers each year in Alaska, more than any other private sector industry, and contributes $2 billion of labor income, second only to oil & gas.

“The economic benefits outlined in this study speak to the true worth of the Alaska seafood resource. Raising the resource value means more investment, greater multiplier effects, larger public revenues and, most importantly, more jobs built on a sustainable natural resource,” said Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) Executive Director Alexa Tonkovich.

“ASMI’s mission is to raise the value of Alaska seafood, and the people in our organization work tirelessly in support of that goal. We understand it’s not only about improving the earnings of people already in the industry, which is important, but also about promoting job growth and more prosperous Alaska communities.” added Tonkovich.

The 2017 Economic Value of Alaska’s Seafood Industry report may be found online at

Within Alaska, seafood continues to play a critical role in creating value for Alaskans:

  • The seafood industry directly employs nearly 60,000 workers in Alaska each year, more than any other private sector industry. Including multiplier effects, it is the third-largest basic sector job creator in Alaska after the oil-and-gas and visitor industries.
  • Seafood processing is the largest manufacturing sector in Alaska, accounting for 72% of the state’s manufacturing employment with 24,863 workers in 2015. The sector includes 169 shore-based plants, 73 catcher-processors, and more than a dozen floating processors.
  • Since statehood in 1959, Alaska’s seafood industry has harvested 169 billion pounds of fish and shellfish, with a first wholesale value of $170 billion, in 2016 dollars

Alaska harvests more wild-caught seafood than all other states combined and is a key component in the national seafood industry:

  • Nationally, the Alaska seafood industry creates an estimated 99,000 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs, $5.2 billion in annual labor income and $12.8 billion in economic output.
  • Alaska exports more than one million metric tons of seafood each year, returning over $3 billion of new money into the U.S. economy.
  • Alaska seafood accounts for nearly 60 percent of all U.S. wild-caught fisheries.

Among Alaska’s diverse portfolio of species, salmon remains an iconic favorite and economic powerhouse:

  • Salmon provide the greatest economic impact with 32,900 FTE jobs, over $1.7 billion in annual labor income, and over $4.2 billion in value to the national economy.
  • Alaska pollock, the largest single-species U.S. fishery by volume, is a close second with estimated 28,700 FTE jobs, $1.5 billion in labor income and an additional $3.8 billion in value to the U.S. economy.
  • High value species such as halibut, black cod and crab account for 2 percent of harvest volume but 19 percent of the labor income and economic output (including multiplier effects) produced by the Alaska seafood industry.

Alaska commercial seafood industry revenues collected in the form of taxes, fees and self-assessments returned $58 million to state government, $45 million to local governments, $30 million to salmon enhancement operations, and $12 million to the federal government.

Originally published in 2013 and updated in 2015 and 2017, the report is prepared by McDowell Group for ASMI. The study details the economic importance of Alaska’s commercial seafood industry on the local, state and national level. Printed copies will be available at the Pacific Marine Expo ASMI booth #4218 in the new Alaska Hall in Seattle, Washington Nov. 16-18, 2017.

About Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute:
The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) is a partnership of the State of Alaska and the Alaska seafood industry promoting the benefits of wild and sustainable Alaska seafood and offering seafood industry education. The seafood industry is Alaska’s largest private sector employer with nearly 60 percent of all wild seafood and 90-95 percent of wild salmon harvested in the U.S. coming from Alaska. In addition to wild salmon, Alaska is known for its crab and whitefish varieties such as cod, sablefish, halibut, Alaska pollock, sole and rockfish – available fresh or frozen year-round. Alaska has been dedicated to sustainable seafood for more than 50 years and is the only state with a constitution that mandates all seafood be managed under the sustained yield principle. Alaska has taken a leadership role in setting the global standard for precautionary resource management to protect fisheries and surrounding habitats for future generations and leading to an ever-replenishing
supply of wild seafood for markets worldwide.