Perspectives on Business and Economics, Vol. 40

Perspectives on Business and Economics, Vol. 40, 2022 95 GONE FISHING: PRESERVING ALASKAN TRADITION IN NEW WATERS Thomas Perillo Alaska’s seafood products are recognized globally for their high quality derived from pristine waters. However, climate change and fluctuation in aquatic variables add challenges for management councils. As the relationship between these changes and the effects on marine species is still not entirely known, changes to fishery management are necessary to allow for dynamic oversight as updated research becomes available. Transition to adaptive management can preserve both economic value and the tradition of the state’s commercial fisheries. Introduction Fishing is a fundamental part of Alaska’s culture and economy, as it is one of the largest industries in the state. Alaska produces nearly 60% of the nation’s commercial harvest, more catch by volume than all other US states combined. Alaska is a major producer and exporter of various types of seafood, including all five major species of Pacific salmon as well as crab and pollock, among others. Throughout 2017 and 2018, seafood contributed an estimated annual average of $5.6B in economic output to the Alaskan economy. Moreover, seafood is also the state’s largest international export in terms of volume and value. The industry generates more than 100,000 full-time equivalent jobs in Alaska and elsewhere nationally, encompassing work opportunities in production, distribution, and retail sales. Of those jobs, approximately 29,000 are fishermen directly, of whom nearly 16,000 are Alaskan residents (McDowell Group, 2020). A distinction of Alaskan seafood is that all fish must be wild caught. Finfish farming has been banned in the state since 1990. Shellfish farming, on the other hand, is practiced in the state, typically along coastlines, for species including Pacific oysters, littleneck clams, and mussels, which together make up the majority of the state’s aquatic farm products (Ping-Ham, 2020). Another key distinction is between outlawed fish farms and legal commercial hatcheries. Hatcheries, which release juvenile fish into the wild to supplement species’ natural numbers, have long been used for salmon and recently have added species due to population concerns. This wild-caught distinction for fish products of the state is important on the global scale, as Alaskan seafood is generally not competitive on price but rather considered a luxury good, where demand is driven by trust and perceived value of the sustainable practices and the pristine marine environment where the seafood was caught (McDowell Group, 2020). If thought of as its own country, Alaska would rank eighth globally in terms of wild-caught