Groundfish Industry Non-Profit Provides a Gloomy 2024 Economic Outlook

Positively Groundfish, a San Francisco-based non-profit focused on West Coast groundfish fisheries, foresees a gloomy economy in its annual economic outlook survey, citing pessimism among industry leaders.

The survey of industry participants released Jan. 24 notes accelerating pessimism across the industry, with 55% expecting a worse year for the domestic seafood industry and 52% anticipating a decline of West Coast groundfish.

Another key takeaway of the 2024 forecast is participants’ outlook for their own organization being at its most pessimistic in five years, surpassing levels seen during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2000.

Fishermen are the most pessimistic, even more so than in previous years, while processors show cautious optimism, the report said. Expectations for investments in West Coast groundfish operations are muted, signaling uncertainty and potential challenges in generating future consumer demand.

Labor availability, a historical issue, is no longer a significant growth restrictor, but this could signify industry contraction, the report states.

Underutilization of production equipment indicates potential for growth without substantial investments, but underutilization of West Coast groundfish itself remains a concern, with 71% reporting excess availability relative to demand. That places downward pressure on prices and profitability, according to the report.

Economic factors dominate key challenges, including domestic economic conditions, international competition and changing consumer preferences, as concerns about labor availability and infrastructure fade, the report said.

Positively Groundfish, formed in 2018, is focused on promoting the sustainability and economic success of West Coast fisheries. The nonprofit collaborates with environmental non-profits, fishermen’s associations, seafood processors and academics to share fishery stories and to foster public appreciation.

The complete report is available online at