May 30, 2014
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For years Fish Radio claimed that over 84 percent of Alaska’s seafood landings hail from federal waters, or from three to 200 miles from shore. But that’s not correct. That high percentage applies to the volume or poundage taken, not the landings. When it comes to fish deliveries, the state takes it hands down.
You can imagine the number of deliveries, for example, that happen in Bristol Bay in the month of July – every setnetter and every drift gillnetter who is pitching off fish, that’s a delivery, a landing. And there are hundreds of those happening every day. But you contrast that with the volume or poundage of fish harvested, that’s another thing.
Kurt Iverson is the Research and Planning project leader at the state Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission. Likewise, there is an important distinction between fishery poundage and values. Some are high volume with relatively lower value on a per pound basis, and vice versa.
A good example of a fishery that has very high value but relatively low volume is sablefish. Compare that to other fisheries and the total poundage harvested may not measure up but the value is very high.
Furthermore, when people talk about the overall value of Alaska’s fisheries they usually use the exvessel, or dockside, numbers. But that represents only 40% of the industry’s worth – it’s the first wholesale value that tells the whole tale, the first sales made by seafood processors.
Iverson says in terms of seafood landings, harvests and values it’s important to make those distinctions —
It’s important not only for someone who is expressing it, but for a reader. What exactly are you taking in here – are you considering a value or a poundage or harvest, are you considering a delivery or something else. We all have that responsibility – the writers and journalists and analysts like myself have a responsibility to be clear about what we’re talking about and our audiences should be aware that there are differences too.
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, an Alaska corporation proudly supporting Alaska’s coastal communities and the Alaskans who depend on fishing for their livelihoods and culture. www.oceanbeauty.com In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.