Report: Increase in fishing jobs in south-central Alaska reason for future optimism

Commercial fishing employment is fickle and hard to predict, but early indicators showed promise that 2017 employment would be up, too, according to a report. (Photo courtesy of Vexilar)

KENAI, Alaska — More people worked in commercial salmon fishing in south-central Alaska in 2016 than in 2015, according to a state report.

Commercial fishing employment is fickle and hard to predict, but early indicators showed promise that 2017 employment would be up, too.

“This suggests a resurgence for salmon fisheries this year, while other catches, such as cod, appear weaker so far,” the report stated.

Still, the number of commercial fishing jobs did drop by about 5 percent statewide – despite the region’s increase, the Peninsula Clarion reported this week.

Groundfish harvesting jobs stayed relatively stable, as did jobs in halibut, herring, sablefish and shellfish harvesting, according to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development report. But for salmon harvesting jobs, the statewide number from 2015 to 2016 dropped by about 6.4 percent, while the south-central region slightly increased.

Southeast Alaska saw declines in employment in all of its fisheries, with the largest in salmon, according to the report.

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