Investment in PWSAC Yields Big Bang for Every Buck

A study of the economic impact of Prince William Sound
Aquaculture Corp. on Alaska’s seafood industry, sport, subsistence and personal
use fisheries shows that PWSAC got a pretty big bang for its buck – a 271-to-1
return on its investment.
The economic impact study, prepared by the McDowell Group in
Juneau, concludes that for every dollar of net grant funding the state of
Alaska invested in PWSAC facilities since 1975, Alaska’s seafood industry
received $271 worth of PWSAC salmon. And, the study notes, commercial fishermen
received $23 worth of PWSAC salmon for every dollar of enhancement taxes they
have paid since 1990.
Significant benefits to the state and regional economy are
outlined in the study, along with ways in which the programs could be expanded
to produce greater economic benefit. The study covered direct and indirect job
creation and earnings, and examined market conditions for salmon species.
Researchers at the McDowell group concluded that PWSAC
salmon created an annual average of $51 million in total labor income for an
average of 2,495 workers, and that commercial fishermen collectively earned
average gross revenues of $48 million annually harvesting PWSAC salmon. The
salmon harvest is dominated by Alaska residents with participation by
harvesters from Dutch Harbor to Delta Junction to Petersburg, researchers said.
Ten years after Alaska’s “salmon value crisis,” the industry
outlook is strong due to the expansion of the global market, a diversified
product supply, a sustained marketing effort and a more educated consumer, the
study said. “Providing additional pink salmon to the Prince William Sound
fisheries would have a clear financial impact on fishermen and processors in
the short term, and would create jobs in the long term, according to the study.
This is the fifth study in a series of PWSAC impact reports
prepared by McDowell Group since 2001. Most data covered in the report reflects
the recent five-year period, from 2007 through 2011, but historical PWSAC data
since 1990 is also included. PWSAC is a private nonprofit corporation
established to produce hatchery-born, ocean-raised wild salmon for commercial,
sport, personal use and subsistence fisheries of the Prince William Sound
region. PWSAC operations are financed primarily by a cost-recovery program and
supplemented by a voluntary salmon enhancement tax paid by commercial