Federal Report Details Drop in Seafood Revenues
in 2015

New federal reports on fisheries economics in the United States released on May 9 show that the seafood industry generated $144 million in sales in 2015, including imports, a 6 percent decline from the previous year. The industry also supported 1.2 million jobs, a decline of 15 percent from 2014, but still above the five-year average.

In Alaska alone, the industry provided a total of 53,441 jobs in 2015— 37,762 commercial harvesters, 12,384 seafood processors and dealers, 24 importers, 365 seafood wholesalers and distributors and 2,905 jobs in retail trade. Imports included, the Alaska seafood industry had $4.4 million in sales and $1.8 million in income.

Factors such as the “warm blob,” marine toxins and El Nino affected the Pacific marine environment in 2015, and West Coast fishermen saw lower landings and revenue for several key commercial species.

The reports also note that US fisheries continued to rebuild in 2016, with the number of stocks on the overfishing and overfished lists remaining near all-time lows. A stock appears on the overfishing list when the catch rate is too high, and as overfished when the population size of a stock is too low, either because of fishing or other causes such as environmental changes. “These reports show that the U.S. is on the right track when it comes to sustainably managing our fisheries, said Sam Rauch, acting assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries.

“Rebuilding and keeping stocks at sustainable levels will help us address the growing challenge of increasing our nation’s seafood supply and keep us competitive in a global marketplace.”

Combined commercial and recreational fishing generated $208 billion in sales, contributing $97 billion to the gross domestic product in 2015 while supporting 1.6 million full-time and part-time jobs, which was above the five-year average.

The complete “NOAA’s Fisheries Economics of the United States” is available online at
NOAA Fisheries annual stock status update was also released on May 9 and can be found at