2017 Economic Status of the Groundfish Fisheries Off Alaska

April 24, 2019

The commercial FMP groundfish fisheries off Alaska had a total catch of 2.3 million metric tons (mt) in 2017 (including catch in federal and state waters) (Fig. 3.1 and Table 1), a decrease of 0.14% from 2016. Groundfish accounted for 81% of Alaska’s 2017 total catch, which was less than typical because of higher than average Pacific salmon catch in 2017 (Table 3). In Alaska total catch in 2017 increased for Alaska pollock, sablefish, and Atka mackerel, with pollock catch at a decadal high. Total catch decreased or was stable for Pacific cod, flatfish and rockfish, with flatfish catches at a
decadal low.

The aggregate ex-vessel value of the FMP groundfish fisheries off Alaska was $947 million, which was 47% of the ex-vessel value of all commercial fisheries off Alaska in 2017 (Table 3).1 After adjustment for inflation, real ex-vessel value of FMP groundfish increased $60 million (Table 3), largely due to an aggregate real ex-vessel price increase of 7.1% to $0.194 per pound in 2017. The increase in the aggregate ex-vessel price was attributable to a rise in ex-vessel prices for most species, with the notable exception of pollock. Notable price increases were observed for Atka mackerel (42%), flatfish (21%), and Pacific cod (18%). Pollock ex-vessel prices showed little change, fallling 2.9% in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI), and rising 4.5% in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA), and after recent declines prices remain fairly low (Tables 11 and 27). Among the other species that are the focus of the shoreside ex-vessel fisheries: The GOA arrowtooth ex-vessel price rose 27%, GOA Pacific ocean perch prices fell 4%, GOA sablefish prices rose 16%. For Alaska FMP groundfish in aggregate the change in catch was small relative to the change in price, which was the larger factor in determining the increase in ex-vessel value (Figures 5.6 and 5.10). For other fisheries in Alaska, salmon and halibut ex-vessel revenues increase, while shellfish revenue decreased (Table 3).

The gross value of the 2017 groundfish catch after primary processing (first wholesale) was $2.52 billion (Table 4), a increase of 3.4% in real terms from 2016. This change was primarily the result of an increase in the real aggregate 2017 first-wholesale price, up 5.6% to $1.2 per pound while aggregate production volumes decreased 1.4% to 959 thousand mt (Table 4). In the BSAI, aggregate first-wholesale value increased 6.1% and value was increasing for all species with the exception of pollock where aggregate value, price, and volume showed little change (Table 15). In the Gulf of Alaska, aggregate first-wholesale value increased only slightly (1.5%) (Table 31). First-wholesale value in the GOA was increasing for flatfish and sablefish with increases in both first-wholesale prices and production volume. The decrease in GOA cod value was the result of decreased production volume. The decrease in the value of GOA pollock was largely the result of a decrease in the average price of products.

Last updated by Alaska Fisheries Science Center on 05/23/2019

Alaska Groundfish Research Alaska Groundfish Management