Office of Fisheries Development

Undeveloped Commercial Seafood Opportunities

Sustainable, massive in scale, known around the world for its flavor and quality, Alaska seafood accounts for over half of the nations seafood landings worth $2 billion to Alaska commercial fisherman, and nearly twice this amount to the seafood processors. Annual seafood employment for the past five years has exceeded 55,000 people. Historical landings going back over a century including salmon, halibut, and herring have in recent times seen species such as pollock, cod, sablefish, and crab added to the list.

All of these commercial fisheries are scientifically managed for sustainability under a complex relationship between state and federal fisheries scientists and managers who take their directions from federal and state boards comprised of stakeholders with extensive seafood experience. The following reports examine potential economic opportunities for selected commercial marine and anadromous species occurring in Alaska waters and presently not part of the traditionally managed commercial seafood industry - the so called “undeveloped fisheries.” Where applicable, ADF&G protocols followed by commercial fishermen prospecting potential fisheries is presented when deciding whether a potential commercial fishery is capable of sustaining fully developed commercial status.

Undeveloped Commercial Fisheries Report

Additionally, there are many marine plants growing naturally in Alaska’s coastal waters that can potentially be harvested in the wild or cultured on farms, and have potential to be developed as a high value product. Among these are seaweeds such as Macrocystis (giant kelp), Nereocystis (bull kelp) and Porphyra (nori). Alaska scientists have developed procedures for the successful mariculture of Macrocystis which has economic implications for the Alaska roe-on-kelp fishery. Bull kelp is very similar to wakame (Undaria pinnatifida) used in traditional Asian cooking and may have potential as a culinary substitute. Potential commercial development of this seaweed is excellent, however very little biological and economic research has been done to bring this resource to commercial levels. Stock assessment work has focused mainly on Macrocystis, Nereocystis and Porphyra because of their present value in the marine plant marketplace. More needs to be learned about the number, quantity, and types of marine plants in Alaska.

Marine Plant Report