Where do Alaska Fish Go?

May 23, 2016

Alaska Fishing Industry

The Alaska Fisheries Science Center, the McDowell Group and the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission have produced a new publication examining how federally managed groundfish and crab stocks caught in Alaskan waters end up on dinner plates around the world.

“We look at where Alaska seafood goes once it leaves U.S. processors,” said Ben Fissel, primary editor for the new report. “For instance, for a species like Atka mackerel, where Alaska is the largest producer, supply increases or reductions have a significant effect on world prices.”

Alaska's commercial fisheries are the most productive in the Nation, accounting for 60 percent of the total 2014 U.S. Commercial fisheries harvest volume and is valued at $4.27 billion wholesale. The majority of Alaska seafood is exported.

In 2014, the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands region produced 86 percent of the total wholesale groundfish production volume and accounted for 83 percent of the value with the Gulf of Alaska (including Southeast Alaska) region producing the remainder.

This report is being shared with the North Pacific Fishery Management Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee to provide insights into the range of market forces that may affect the value of Alaska seafood. Authors examine impacts of market forces on Alaska seafood from a variety of factors including: the production and global supply of king crab, Atka mackerel harvests in Japan, demand for fish oil for human consumption, currency exchange rates (such as fluctuations in the value of the dollar), changes in Atlantic cod production and changes in consumer preferences for some species.

“We are providing this information to fishery managers so they can learn more about the drivers for demand of the raw materials Alaska is producing and how management decisions are both impacted by market forces and can impact market conditions,” said Ron Felthoven, co-editor of the report and division director for the Alaska Fisheries Science Center Resource Ecology and Fisheries Management Division.

Additional Resources