A fisherman picking sockeye salmon from their setnets in the Nushagak district of Bristol Bay. (Photo Credit: WWF)
Bristol Bay salmon fishery contribues 20pc of US seafood exports
Friday, May 10, 2013, 23:00 (GMT + 9)
The Bristol Bay, Alaska commercial salmon fishery is the world's most valuable wild salmon fishery and in total produces an astounding annual value of USD 1.5 billion, according to a new report.
The fishery supports a significant number of jobs in the four West Coast states, Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California, and the total value of Bristol Bay salmon product exports in 2010 was about USD 370 million, accounting for nearly 20 per cent of the total value of all US seafood exports.
Written by researchers at the University of Alaska's Institute for Social and Economic Research, the report The Economic Importance of the Bristol Bay Salmon Industry marks the first time the full value and impact of the Bristol Bay salmon fishery has been measured.
The report was released this week and mentioned Deadliest Catch Captain Johnathan Hillstrand, who said: "For everyone who counts on the salmon industry to make a living, the Pebble project is the Deadliest Mine. The only people who want this mine don't live in Alaska or even the US. They're foreign mining companies that want to sell gold and copper to the Chinese."
There is a shorter executive summary of the report, which was commissioned by the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association. Highlights include:
- The Bristol Bay salmon fishery supports 12,000 jobs in fishing and processing; including 4,369 fishing and processing jobs in Alaska; 3,227 in Washington state; 2,143 in Oregon; 553 in California and 1,629 in other states.
- The fishery creates an additional 7,800 jobs across the country due to multiplier effects of retailing in grocery stores, restaurants, etc., and developing value-added products.
- The commercial fishery provides about USD 500 million in direct income to workers across the country every year.
The report comes at the same time the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is conducting a comment period of its revised Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment, a scientific report that shows that digging up the proposed Pebble mine will destroy up to 90 mi of salmon streams and up to 4,800 ac of wetlands in the best case scenario, without potential leaks or a catastrophic failure.
"There are few issues that are more black and white than protecting Bristol Bay. EPA's draft assessment and this economic impact study both confirm that the proposed Pebble mine would be bad for fish and bad for fishermen. With 3,000 Washington state jobs at stake, we can't afford the ecological or economic risk," said Representative Jim McDermott of Washington.