March 14, 2013 | Vol. 39, No. 11

Fish Factor

NOAA Fisheries releases regional stats report

The just released “Fisheries Economics of the US” by NOAA Fisheries covers the commercial and recreational fishing industries from 2002-2011 and is loaded with descriptive seafood industry stats by region.

The report, sixth in a series, tracks the economic impacts, price trends; payroll and annual receipt information for fishing-related businesses, from the dock to dinner plates. The impacts also are reported in terms of employment, sales and value-added impacts.

Some highlights: Commercial fishermen in the U.S. harvested 9.9 billion pounds of fish/ shellfish in 2011, earning $5.3 billion for their catch. Pacific salmon ($618 million) followed by sea scallops ($585 million), shrimp ($536 million), and American lobster ($423 million) contributed most to total U.S. revenue.

In terms of poundage, Pollock (2.8 billion pounds), menhaden (1.9 billion), and Pacific salmon (780 million) comprised over half of total pounds landed in 2011.

Prices per pound for seven of the key species were above the average annual price for the decade. When comparing 2011 dock prices to 2002, and accounting for inflation, the largest changes occurred in Atka mackerel (378% increase), salmon (114% increase), Pacific halibut (109% increase), and sablefish (80% increase).

Of the top ten key species, sea scallops paid the highest price per pound in 2011 ($9.9), followed by Pacific halibut ($4.98), and sablefish ($4.56). Pollock was the lowest at $0.13

For Alaska, the seafood industry generated $4.7 billion in sales impacts, $2 billion in income and over 63,000 jobs in 2011.Seafood processing and dealer operations contributed 26% to in-state sales for Alaskan businesses, with over $1.2 billion generated in 2011.

Over 286,000 recreational anglers spent nearly 811,000 days fishing in Alaska in 2011, with 56% of them non-residents. Pacific halibut was the most caught fish, with approximately 705 taken in 2011. Coho salmon and razor clam also were caught in large numbers at 474,000 and 436,000, respectively. Find the Fisheries Economics report at .

Wanted: Salmon Sleuths - State salmon managers are seeking a contractor to help solve the problem of disappearing king salmon in Cook Inlet. The Inlet’s waters are home to one of Alaska’s largest salmon fisheries, with mixed harvests of all five species of Pacific salmon.

The project, which includes attaching acoustic telemetry tags to salmon in the Lower Inlet, aims to try and "identify differences in the migration patterns of Chinook and sockeye salmon" in the eastside setnet fishery; and "determine potential alternative management strategies to reduce Chinook harvests."

Test fishing has shown that most sockeye salmon migrate northward near the center of the Inlet, but it is not known if Chinook salmon follow the same pattern. The research contract is worth $693,000. Contact:

Atka’s open! Bering Sea fishermen can catch a break with an April 27 opening of Atka Pride Seafoods. The early opener provides a jump on deliveries of IFQ sablefish and halibut, as well as cod, and saves about 400 miles off the trip to Dutch Harbor. Atka Pride is co-owned by APICDA Joint Ventures and the Atka Fishermen’s Association. The company added a deep water dock last year and Atka Pride plans to soon be open year round. Contact: (907) 771-4200.

Find fish news! For over two decades I have wished I could find information about Alaska’s fishing industry in a single place. My new web site attempts to do that – it provides links to public comments, surveys, meetings, catch stats, fish prices, openings and closures, reports, etc. It’s a one stop shop for Alaska fish news. It’s still a work in progress, but please visit the site at .

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