Each May NOAA Fisheries unveils a report that highlights U.S. economic impacts for commercial and recreational fisheries.
Here’s the big picture presented by Alan Risenhoover, Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs–
“Including imports US commercial Fishing and the seafood industry generated $144 billion in sales in 2015. A six percent decline from the previous year and supported 1.2 million jobs, a 15 percent decline from 2014. However it’s important to consider these figures are still above the 5 year average. In fact, 2015 represents the second highest level during that period.”
For Alaska, commercial fishermen in 2015 landed more than 6 billion pounds of fish and shellfish, a 6% increase from 2014. Alaska pollock accounted for 54% of total volume. The value of the catch held steady at about $1.7 billion.
Fishing and processing in Alaska generated $4.4 billion in sales in 2015 and 53,400 full- and part-time jobs. Of that, 38,000 were fishermen.
Alaska crab values totaled $284 million, the highest level since 1999. In 2015, halibut received the highest dock price at $4.85 per pound; Alaska herring fetched the lowest price at just one penny a pound.
Recreational fishing in Alaska put 5,407 people to work and salt water anglers spent about $470 million for fishing trips and equipment. A total of 309,000 anglers fished in Alaska in 2015, an 8% increase from the year before.
NOAA scientists said warmer water temperatures and a changing environment are affecting fish stocks in a number of ways. Alan Risenhoover
“It may change the abundance, how and where they reproduce and how successful they are at reproducing. It also changes where they live. We see some stocks perhaps moving north to colder waters or offshore for deeper water that may be cooler. What the councils and the agency are doing is we are watching that movement and trying to plan ahead on how to best manage those stocks as they move, but also increasing the science associated with our stock assessments.”