Inshore Processing Contributes Millions to Economy

A new study by the McDowell Group concludes that the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands (BSAI) inshore processing sector packed a $1.56 billion punch into the Alaska economy in 2016.

Key findings of the study, prepared for Icicle Seafoods, Peter Pan Seafoods, Trident Seafoods, UniSea, Westward Seafoods and Alyeska Seafoods, include efforts of these processors that contributed millions of dollars to Alaska’s economy through several thousand jobs, the purchase of goods and services, payment of state and local taxes and investment in capital improvements.

Data sources for the study came from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and Alaska Fisheries Information Network.

Researchers found that the BSAI inshore sector accounted for about 28 percent of Alaska’s total first wholesale volume of some 2.7 billion pounds and 26 percent of the total Alaska first wholesale value of nearly $4.2 billion.

Inshore processing accounted for a monthly average of 3,750 jobs in the BSAI region, with total annual wages of $194 million. The workforce included some 1,400 Alaskans who earned $48 million in wages and directly accounted for more than 40 percent of all local resident employment in the region. When including multiplier effects, BSAI inshore processing accounted for 2,627 Alaska resident jobs and $112 million in Alaska resident wages.

Shoreside processors in the BSAI spent $220 million in 2016, including shipping, fuel, construction, air transport and utilities. They also paid more than $32.7 million to state and local communities in the form of fisheries taxes, comprising 56 percent of all fish taxes paid in Alaska. Local fish taxes paid to BSAI communities represented 25 percent to 70 percent of operating revenue. Property and sales tax revenues are also important to these communities.

These inshore processors also made capital improvements from 2015 to 2017 totaling $175 million. Investments included expanding capacity to process and add value to Pacific cod, increased capacity for surimi production, dock improvements, increased freezer capacity, land purchases, and other projects.

Total first wholesale value of some 745 million pounds of seafood products processed by the BSAI inshore sector were valued at $1.1 billion, with Pollock products contributing 78 percent of the volume and 53 percent of the first wholesale value.

Pacific cod products and opilio/tanner crab products contributed 12 and five percent respectively in volume, with Pacific cod products bringing in 14 percent of first wholesale value. Low volume and high value opilio/tanner and king crab accounted for 16 and 11 percent respectively of total value.

The full report is available online at