Economic Impact

An independent study performed in September 2018 by the McDowell Group illustrates the substantial economic impact PWSAC has for commercial, sport, subsistence and personal use fisheries.

Multiple reports have been conducted by the McDowell Group to educate about the significance of hatchery programs in the Prince William Sound.

2018 Economic Impact Report for PWSAC
2018 Economic Impact Report for Alaska Salmon Hatcheries
2015 Economic Impact Report for South Central Seafood Industry
2012 Economic Impact Report for PWSAC
2010 Economic Impact Report for PWSAC

Commercial Fisheries Impact

  • Between 2012 and 2017, PWS commercial fishermen (all gear types) harvested a cumulative total of 539 million pounds of PWSAC-produced salmon worth $296 million. The annual commercial harvest of PWSAC fish averaged 90 million pounds worth $49 million.
  • PWSAC salmon accounted for 43 percent of the total PWS salmon harvest volume over the 2012 to 2017 period (1.2 billion pounds) and 45 percent of the total value ($642 million).
  • By volume and value, pink salmon is the most important species produced by PWSAC. Commercial fishermen harvested 390 million pounds (120 million pink salmon) from PWSAC between 2012 and 2017 worth about $131 million. The annual commercial harvest of PWSAC pink salmon averaged 65 million pounds worth $22 million.
  • Over the 2012-2017 period, more than one in three pink salmon harvested in PWS came from PWSAC.
  • Sockeye salmon are the most valuable species produced by PWSAC on a per pound basis. Over the study period, 44 million pounds were harvested worth $94 million. About 7.3 million pounds of sockeye worth $16 million were harvested annually.
  • Chum are valued primarily for their roe, but flesh markets have developed in recent years. About 104 million pounds of this PWSAC-sourced chum worth $68 million were harvested between 2012 and 2017, or an annual average of 17 million pounds worth $11 million.
  • PWSAC also produces coho: about 2.2 million pounds worth $2.3 million were harvested over the study period. Nearly 375,000 pounds were harvested annually worth about $390,000.

Processing Impact

  • Salmon from PWSAC is processed primarily in Cordova and Valdez, in addition to Seward, Kodiak, and other communities.
  • The PWS seafood processing sector includes shoreside plants, floating processors, and direct marketers.
  • Between 2012 and 2017, PWS processors sold $1.63 billion worth of seafood products; $1.58 billion (97 percent) came from salmon. Halibut, sablefish, Pacific cod, and other species composed the remainder.
  • Between 2012 and 2017, the first wholesale value of salmon products originating from PWSAC salmon totaled more than $730 million, or an annual average of about $122 million. Pink salmon products were the largest component, contributing an annual average of more than $70 million.
  • Processors added $434 million in value to PWSAC-produced salmon over the 2012-2017 period. This value-added (or gross margin) is total value ($730 million) minus the cost of purchasing the fish ($296 million).
  • Most PWSAC pink salmon is processed into frozen headed and gutted (H&G) form and shipped to a reprocessing facility. A declining portion of pink salmon are canned. In 2012 about half of all Alaska pink salmon were canned; in 2017 this proportion had declined to about a quarter.
  • Nearly all PWSAC chum leave Alaska as frozen H&G. The primary coho and sockeye products are also primarily frozen, but with more value-add such as fillets and vacuum sealed. These two species also serve the fresh market, especially sockeye in the early season.
  • Utilization of PWS salmon has increased as markets have been developed for different grades of salmon flesh products. Increased regional capacity for fish meal and fish oil production has also increased utilization.

Sport, Personal Use and Subsistence Impact

  • PWSAC salmon are commonly harvested by charter boat operators from Seward.
  • Nearly 40,000 PWSAC coho were harvested by anglers over the 2012-2017 period, equal to about 2,200 daily bag limits annually; 7,500 PWSAC sockeye were harvested as well, or more than 200 daily bag limits per year. Personal Use and Subsistence
  • Personal use and subsistence users harvest sockeye salmon produced by PWSAC’s Gulkana hatchery in the Copper River. Between 2008 and 2017, PWSAC was the source of about one-in-five sockeye salmon harvested in these fisheries.
  • Residents of more than 50 Alaska communities harvested more than 325,000 PWSAC-produced sockeye salmon from 2012 through 2017, including:
    • Fairbanks: 115,000 fish
    • Anchorage: 80,000 fish
    • Matanuska-Susitna: 60,000 fish
    • Copper River Valley: 50,000 fish
  • Assuming the average 4-person family eats 40 salmon per year, PWSAC’s annual contribution to personal use and subsistence fisheries helps feed 5,400 Alaskans annually.
  • Harvest of PWSAC salmon attracts users who support hospitality, retail, and guiding businesses in the Copper River Valley