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UFA publishes fishing economic facts

Posted: November 15, 2011 - 12:04am

(The statistics reported at the end of this article have been corrected due to improper translation from an original document. Footnote numbers were included with the figures, inflating the numbers reported. The footnote numbers have been removed.)

The statewide commercial fishing umbrella association United Fishermen of Alaska, which represents 37 fishing associations, has released a set of data sheets for major Alaska communities and boroughs, according to a release from the group.

The group is seeking to provide UFA groups and members with economic information to illustrate the industry’s significance in their communities.

“[United Fishermen] is alarmed at the lack of public awareness about the economic contributions of the fishing and processing industry across Alaska,” UFA President Arni Thomson stated in a release.

“The most commonly quoted number to gauge fishery economics, is ex-vessel value, the price paid to fishermen at the docks prior to the finfish and shellfish being processed,” he stated in the release. “Quite often this value represents only fifty percent of the product value after it is processed, boxed and frozen.

At this point, it does not include the value of additional jobs and income for transportation, distribution, and wholesale and retail sales and restaurant sales. Alaska’s seafood exports are valued at $2.35 billion in 2010. This is important to all Alaskans in terms of tax revenue contributions. In fiscal year 2009, the industry contributed $79 million in state taxes and fees in addition to local fish taxes.”

“Commercial fishing and seafood processing is increasingly forgotten in discussions about the relative importance of Alaska industries among policymakers and the public,” Thomson stated. “Fishermen armed with the facts and figures about the value of their fisheries need to become ambassadors for their industry,” he said.

In the City and Borough of Juneau, 656 total permits are owned. The number of skippers and crew who fished out of Juneau totaled 730 in 2010. Juneau was the home port for 748 vessels.

Juneau had 430 seafood processing jobs in 2009, with $3.96 million total processing wages.

Sixteen million pounds of seafood were landed in Juneau for an estimated value of $23.8 million in 2010. Most of this was shipped or flown out.

“Virtually every business in Juneau City & Borough benefits from commercial fishing dollars,” Thomson stated in the release.

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