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This information is no surprise to those of us who live to fish and fish to live.  The Kenai River Sportfishing Association has numbers about fishery $ values on on the Kenai River and Cook Inlet that echo much the same.  I don’t like to think of sportfishing as an industry, but from an economic standpoint we are and we need to start wielding more clout!

Trout Unlimited

Southeast Alaska’s Salmon and Trout Fisheries Contribute Nearly $1 Billion Annually to Regional EconomyStudy Finds Combined Value of Commercial, Sport, Subsistence and Hatchery Fisheries Tops $986 Million and Accounts for More than 10 Percent of Jobs

(Juneau, Alaska) – A new study commissioned by Trout Unlimited Alaska finds that Southeast Alaska’s healthy salmon and trout populations pump nearly $1 billion into the local economy every year and account for more than one in ten jobs.

This is the first study that takes a combined look at the economic value of all four sectors of the region’s salmonid fisheries – commercial, sport, subsistence/personal use and hatchery production. Previous studies have looked at each of the sectors separately.

“The study shows the healthy and abundant salmon and trout populations of Southeast Alaska are a huge driver of the regional economy. The reason we have such rich and sustainable fisheries is careful harvest management as well as a lack of the dams, pollution, and agricultural and urban development that have decimated so many runs in the Lower 48,” said Tim Bristol, director of Trout Unlimited Alaska.

Southeast fishermen and regulators agree.

“I hope this study helps to raise awareness of the critical importance of coldwater fish to the economy, ecology and identity of this region.  I think we as Southeast Alaskans sometimes take salmon for granted—and yet it’s literally the lifeblood of our communities,” said Linda Behnken, a Sitka-based commercial longliner/troller and executive director of Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association.

Although past timber harvesting has degraded fish habitat in some Southeast Alaska watersheds, Southeast still supports a disproportionately high share of the wild stocks of trout and salmon remaining in the Pacific Northwest. Limiting habitat degradation, restoring impacted streams and riparian areas and minimizing the negative impacts of climate change will be key to continuing Southeast Alaska’s salmon success story.

“As someone who worked in the timber industry 35 years ago, I welcome the chance to be involved with efforts to restore impacted high-value, fish-producing watersheds.  Especially given the economic and environmental importance of salmon to the communities within the Tongass National Forest, I’d also like to see some intact watersheds safeguarded from future development that could negatively affect the productivity of these areas,” said Steve Reifenstuhl, general manager of Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association.

The study, conducted by economist Thomas Wegge of TCW Economics, used 2007 as a snapshot year. Wegge determined that Southeast Alaska’s salmon and trout populations contribute nearly $1 billion to the region’s economy by calculating the economic values and impacts of Tongass fisheries. Use values measure the monetary importance of these fisheries to those who participate in them. Economic impacts, on the other hand, measure the contribution the fisheries make to economic activity within a region, as measured in terms of jobs and personal income. An input-output model developed by Wegge’s colleagues for the Southeast Alaska economy specifically allowed Wegge to estimate how fishery economic activity multiplies as it ripples through the regional economy.

The following are some of the study’s highlights:

  • · $986.1 million:  estimated annual total economic output generated by commercial, sport, subsistence and hatchery production of salmon and trout in Southeast Alaska, as purchases made in each sector ripple through the regional economy

  • · $466.1 million:  estimated annual value of salmon and trout to people who fish them commercially, for recreation and for subsistence and personal use

  • · 7,282:  estimated number of full or part-time jobs sustained by the four fishing sectors

  • · 10.8 %:  approximate portion of regional employment that stems from salmon and trout fishing

  • · $188.9 million:  estimated annual personal income generated by salmon and trout fisheries and hatcheries

“With this study, we can now say conclusively that salmon and trout are a cornerstone of the Southeast Alaska economy and that maintaining and enhancing the conditions that allow these fish to thrive should be a key goal for land managers and everyone else who cares about jobs in this state,” said Bruce Wallace, a Juneau-based purse seiner who has commercially fished Southeast Alaska waters for three decades. Wallace also sits on various boards including United Fishermen of Alaska and the Southern Southeast Alaska Regional Aquaculture Association.

The full report and an executive summary can be downloaded at:

WWW.TU.ORG/CONSERVATION/ALASKA/TONGASS

 

Paula Dobbyn
Trout Unlimited, Alaska Program
Director of Communications
907-230-1513

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Here I sit in the depth of winter playing with photos and video of a season rich in fun and fish.  This is the time to celebrate another year gone by and to plan the details for making the next one even better.  It is also a time to face some of the challenges eroding the health of the waters and fisheries that we love.  Take some time to reflect, make plans to spend more time on the waters and I encourage you to dig a little into some of the issues that make our fishing futures uncertain.  Many of us are so busy, we can barely find the time to fish, let alone be crusaders.  Everything helps.  Consider at the very least joining organizations such as TU.  They will help keep you informed of important issues like the Pebble Mine and your dues and donations will add to the positive side of things.

I just paged through the second issue of  The Contemporary Sportsman.  Check out the “Sea-Run Angle” by Jeff Bright for an excellent and eloquent perspective.

Reflection, Celebration, Vigilance

Reflection - Celebration - Vigilance

 

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Trout Unlimited Alaska

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