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By ZACHARY HALASCHAK
Daily News Staff Writer
The Alaska Division of Economic Development recently released a report highlighting major statewide and regional economic drivers for last year’s third quarter.
According to the report, Alaska experienced one of its best years for salmon in decades.
“Preliminary statistics from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game show that this season was the third most valuable and third largest since 1975,” the report reads. “The ex-vessel value for all species of salmon was approximately $679 million, a 67 percent increase over last year’s value.”
The report goes on to partially attribute the increase in value to a large overall harvest, but gives much of the credit to higher prices. The findings also highlight an increased overall demand, both internationally and domestic.
“Demand for Alaska salmon in Asia is increasing, in part due to a drop in the value of the U.S. dollar,” the report reads. “In addition, domestic demand is increasing because of the industry diversifying its products and markets and marketing efforts to help wild Alaska salmon compete in the marketplace with farmed fish and other proteins.”
The report also highlights how Alaska’s ports compare to other major fishery ports across the country. It shows that Alaska took up six of the top 10 fishery ports by value of catch, with Dutch Harbor leading the Alaska ports at third place nationally.
Dutch Harbor is also the number one fishery port in the country in terms of quantity, bringing in almost 800 million pounds of fish per year.
No ports in Southeast Alaska were featured in the report’s top 10, either in value or in volume.
The report also noted important regional economic highlights from last year’s third quarter. For Southeast Alaska, it noted that a net-pen failure occurred at a salmon farm in Washington state, causing 305,000 Atlantic salmon to escape.
“Industry experts in Alaska said there was some concern that the escaped salmon could compete with wild Alaska salmon for food or spread disease,” the report reads, “but previous escapes have not resulted in Atlantic salmon establishing in Alaska waters.”
To view the full report from the Alaska Division of Economic Development, visit: bit.ly/Q3reportAK.