With over 3 million lakes, 12,000 rivers, 6,640 miles of coastline, and 47,300 miles of estimated tidal shoreline, Alaska is one of the most bountiful fishing regions in the world, producing a wide variety of seafood. With a coastline longer than all other states combined, Alaska is the only state to have a coast on three different seas: Arctic Ocean, Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea. It also boasts over 40% of the nation’s surface water. Overall, Alaska produces about 60% of the nation’s commercial fisheries – a vast array of seafood, including all five species of Pacific salmon, four species of crab, Pacific cod, various types of groundfish, shrimp, herring, sablefish (black cod), pollock, and Pacific halibut are all harvested from Alaska.

The fisheries of Alaska are recognized as some of the best managed in the world, providing tens of thousands of seasonal and full-time jobs and a vital, long term economic engine for Alaska communities and the state. The seafood industry is one of the largest employment and economic drivers in Alaska, directly employing 58,700 people, creating an additional 10,000 secondary jobs, and producing more than $5 billion in economic activity in Alaska every year. 

Five of Alaska’s fishing ports consistently rank in the top 10 ports in the country in terms of volume of seafood landed. Dutch Harbor/Unalaska has taken the number one spot every year since 1996, landing 763 million pounds in 2018. In addition, the Aleutian Islands, Kodiak, Naknek, the Alaska Peninsula (False Pass/Sand Point), other Bristol Bay communities, Cordova, Sitka, Ketchikan, and Petersburg are all in the top 25 for pounds landed in the U.S.

In terms of the 2018 value of U.S. seafood landed, Alaska also holds five of the top 10 spots in the U.S., with Naknek and Dutch Harbor/Unalaska at second and third, with values of $195 million and $182 million, respectively. In addition, the Aleutian Islands, Bristol Bay, Kodiak, the Alaska Peninsula (False Pass/Sand Point), and Sitka are all in the top 20 for the value of seafood landed in the U.S.  

Alaska’s success over time is due to its constitutionally mandated commitment to sustainable management practices, which ensures that all Alaska commercially harvested seafood species are sustainable for both current and future generations. Fishing resources are renewable due to responsible management, and it is the mission of both state and federal fishery management agencies to sustainably manage and maximize the economic benefits from these resources for generations to come.

Commercial fishing permit holders live in over 210 communities throughout the state and seafood is the core economy for much of coastal Alaska where fish harvesting and processing often provide the only significant opportunities for private sector employment. In addition, commercial fisheries provide the largest source of local government revenue in most fishing communities through state and local fish taxes, not to mention property, business, and sales taxes paid by processors, fishermen, and fisheries support sector businesses. Shoreside processors are typically the largest property taxpayer in coastal fishing communities. 

Alaska’s seafood industry, directly and indirectly, employs tens of thousands of individuals producing billions of pounds of seafood for Alaskans, the U.S., and the world. Commercial fishing permit holders and vessel owners are primarily small and family-owned business, supporting dozens of other service businesses such as hardware and marine suppliers, fuel distributors, air and water travel, barge lines, shipping, boatbuilders, hatcheries, restaurants, grocery stores, scientists, accountants, educators, and administrators. The seafood industry provides Alaskans and the public with critical access to local seafood through restaurants, grocery stores, and seafood markets. 

In addition, the volume and diversity of Alaska’s seafood make it a high quality, healthy, and desirable option for the world’s seafood consumers. Seafood is Alaska’s largest export, making up more than half of all export value. Investment in value-added products, full utilization, and marketing serve to expand both domestic and foreign markets for Alaska seafood, which increases the value overall. The vast fishery resources of Alaska are of much importance to the economies of the state and the nation. 



  • Alaska’s seafood industry created $5.6 billion in total annual economic activity for Alaska (2017-2018 average). 
  • The seafood industry directly employed approximately 58,700 people and created an additional 10,000 secondary jobs in 2018. 
  • Over $172 million in commercial fishing taxes, fees, and self-assessments were collected in 2018 of which 43% went to the State ($73 million), 30% to local governments ($51 million), 23% to salmon hatchery management ($40 million) and 5% to the federal government ($8 million).
  • Direct seafood industry jobs, 58,700:
    • Fishermen jobs, 29,400, including 16,300 Alaska residents
    • Processor jobs, 26,000
    • Management & other jobs, 3,100
    • $2.1 billion in annual labor income (2017-2018 average)
  • Seafood harvesters live in over 210 communities throughout the state. 
  • More than 9,000 commercial vessels are home-ported in Alaska. 
  • There are more than 120 shoreside processing plants throughout the state. 
  • Seafood processing is the largest manufacturing sector in Alaska, accounting for 70% of Alaska’s manufacturing employment.
  • Annual seafood harvest in Alaska is consistently between 5 to 6 billion pounds, accounting for about 60 percent of total U.S. seafood harvests. Ton average 2017-2018 harvest value (ex-vessel revenue, the price paid to fishermen at the dock) was $2 billion, and first wholesale value was approximately $4.7 billion.
  • Salmon accounts for the majority of the value of Alaska seafood, while pollock represents the majority of the volume harvested.  
  • The U.S. is the largest single market for Alaska seafood, followed by China, Japan, Europe, South Korea, and Canada.
  • Seafood has been and remains Alaska’s top export, comprising over half of Alaska’s annual export value. The export value over the past decade has averaged $3.3 billion annually. Alaska’s top exports are pollock, surimi, and fillets – a combined $845 million – and frozen sockeye salmon ($313 million). 
  • Alaska’s seafood industry has been disproportionately impacted by the ongoing trade war with China. Exports to China, which in 2018 accounted for 32 percent of Alaska’s seafood sales and 23 percent of the value, dropped 20 percent due to the ongoing trade war. 
  • Alaska seafood maintains the #1 ranking as the most commonly named protein brand called out on restaurant menus, followed by Angus beef.
  • The seafood industry provides an important “backhaul” for shippers that otherwise primarily bring goods and supplies north to Alaska. One major shipping company has estimated freight rates to Alaska would be 10 percent higher without the backhaul of seafood shipped out of Alaska. The majority of Alaskans are impacted by this important benefit. 
  • Alaska’s state fish, the king salmon, or Chinook, can weigh up to 100 pounds.
  • Alaska's tidal shoreline (at low tide) is estimated to be 47,300 miles. 





  • Alaska Department of Fish & Game
  • Alaska Department of Labor
  • Alaska Department of Natural Resources
  • Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute
  • McDowell Group
  • NOAA Report Fisheries of the United States, 2018