Economic Value of Sport Fishing in Southcentral Alaska


Southcentral Alaska’s progress is closely related to its resources, which are limited but renewable. As a part of the United States, this region has demonstrated careful and clear planning that needs to be preserved regarding the current economic growth and organizational interests. Alaska’s unique resources continue contributing to multiple benefits in the economy, entertainment, and sport (Lew and Lee 72). Sitka and Homer are the most popular fishing destinations in Southeast and Southcentral Alaska, with about 80% of the state’s sport-caught groundfish (qtd. in Beaudreau et al. 270). In addition to sports interests, fishing turns out to be an additional solid source of food for the population. Positive changes in the charter sector have been observed during the last several years, affecting employment and spending patterns (Lew and Lee 54). However, due to the seasonal nature of fisheries and the lack of job reporting, not much information can be used to identify the economic value of sport fishing. This research project aims to examine the economic worth of sport fishing through descriptions taken from recent studies and reports and clarify to what extent the chosen sector affects the overall economy of Southcentral Alaska.

Literature Review

Recent Challenges

When Americans think about sport fishing, Alaska is one of the common destinations to choose from. Social networks and fishing communities are well-positioned in the region, promoting the ability to share information and resources, but remain limited due to the lack of fishery support services (Lavoie and Himes-Cornell 18). Now, salmon species such as Chinook, coho, pink, chum, or sockeye, Pacific halibut, rockfish, and sharks are the major sport fisheries in Alaska (Baumer et al. 1). Their management is challenging due to low mortality rates and physiological aspects. Sports fishing is seasonable, and the Alaska Department of Labor avoids the necessity to fill in quarterly reports; thus, most information is available locally (not many official documents). The Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the US Census Bureau are credible sources to publish data about fishery management, sports activities, and related economic factors (Lavoie et al. 363). However, the peculiarities of an extreme environment, harsh living conditions, and isolation prevent the development (Pickett and Hofmans 3). These problems are poorly identified and discussed in various Alaska research projects, defining the worth of the current study.

Improvement Steps

Despite certain difficulties in managing sport fishing, Southcentral Alaska is characterized by multiple economic achievements. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game indicates the major targets in sport fishing including halibut and salmon (Lew and Lee 2). Thus, policy-making focuses on understanding and learning the unique fisheries’ characteristics, including the diversity of species, the usage of resources, and the needs of residents and non-residents (Beaudreau et al. 275). Run reconstructions are another activity that is commonly applied in Southcentral Alaska to support sport fishing and maintain economic benefits (Jones et al. 4924). Australian and Mexican approaches are used to improve the perception of charter captains of resources and harvest control (Chan et al. 133). These steps enhance economic stability and increase the value of sport fishing.

Further Development

Addressing qualitative and quantitative findings, fishing for sports purposes undergoes positive changes and well-implemented activities. Attention is paid to such promising regions as Bristol Bay, Norton Sound, and Bering Strait (Lavoie and Himes-Cornell 9; Pickett and Hofmans 4; Szymkowiak 2). One of the recent achievements in the field is the evolution of women in terms of participating in Alaska fisheries (Szymkowiak 1). This decision helps solve such questions as economic inferiority, female dependence on male domination, and migration for additional employment opportunities (Szymkowiak 12). Another significant in developing sport fishing that may touch upon the region’s economic stability is the importance of introducing safe and healthy environments for participants. According to Harris et al., the growth of Ichthyophonus parasites is evident, and more people and financial resources should be spent to manage the prevalence and control infection (169). The solution to problems requires increased employment and the creation of new working places, which affects Alaska’s economy.

Research Methods

The review of qualitative and quantitative studies in the current project helped clarify and assess the main benefits and shortages of sport fishing in Alaska. It is not enough to prove that Alaska is the best place for American fishing but to examine its economic factors and define the worth of investments and contributions. Descriptive research was proposed to gather more credible information from direct observations of human behaviors and preferred activities. There was no way the researcher could affect the development of events in Alaska and its sport fishing. Observational approaches offered no control over variables like sport fishing (an independent variable) and economic value (a dependent variable). At the same time, the researcher was able to gather qualitative and quantitative data from observing local and non-resident anglers.


Several positive and negative findings were reported within the frames of the offered study. On the one hand, most participants who were observed and informed about the nature of the project proved the importance of developing sport fishing in Southcenter Alaska. People were interested in creating new entertainment and economic opportunities for the region. They spent much time fishing for different purposes (food, sport, and routine activities). On the other hand, a lack of specialized organizations and control proved the impossibility of solving limited resources and poor management problems. Promoting social networks in Alaska fishing communities revealed that closures due to sport fishing could be offered (Lavoie and Himes-Cornell 11). However, it would dramatically change the economic image of the region. Most people were aware of the existing species available in water, but the environment needed to be improved, and new people had to be hired as economic and financial analytics and organizational managers. Thus, contributions in education, training and management proved critical to support the economic value of sport fishing in Alaska.


In general, sport fishing is a significant area of activity in Southcentral Alaska. There are many species to be used for sports purposes and entertainment, including salmon, sharks, halibut, and rockfish. The regions of Cook Inlet and Bristol Bay are the major areas for development, where people’s interests differ, modifying available sources and attracting new participants. Economic output depends on the value of resources and services, and Alaska had enough opportunities to improve its situation and invest in sports activities. Observations created a solid basis for the description of the fishery and showed what people knew and could do at the moment of the study. Communication and interviews with local citizens, managers, and tourists could be another contribution to assessing the economic situation in Southcentral Alaska and the analysis of future steps in the state’s growth and progress.

Works Cited

Baumer, Jay, et al. “Area Management Report for the Sport Fisheries of the North Gulf Coast, 2016– 2018.” Alaska Department of Fish and Game, 2019. Web.

Beaudreau, Anne H., et al. “Harvest Portfolio Diversification and Emergent Conservation Challenges in an Alaskan Recreational Fishery.” Biological Conservation, vol. 222, 2018, pp. 268–277.

Chan, Maggie N., et al. “Evaluating the Recreational Fishery Management Toolbox: Charter Captains’ Perceptions of Harvest Controls, Limited Access, and Quota Leasing in the Guided Halibut Fishing Sector in Alaska.” Marine Policy, vol. 91, 2018, pp. 129–135.

Harris, Bradley, et al. “Ichthyophonus in Sport-Caught Groundfishes from Southcentral Alaska.” Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, vol. 128, no. 2, 2018, pp. 169–173.

Jones, Leslie A., et al. “Watershed‐scale Climate Influences Productivity of Chinook Salmon Populations Across Southcentral Alaska.” Global Change Biology, vol. 26, no. 9, 2020, pp. 4919–4936.

Lavoie, Anna, and Amber Himes-Cornell. “Social Networks of Alaska Fishing Communities.” Coastal Management, vol. 47, no. 1, 2019, pp. 1–22.

Lavoie, Anna, et al. “Ground-Truthing Social Vulnerability Indices of Alaska Fishing Communities.” Coastal Management, vol. 46, no. 5, 2018, pp. 359–387.

Lew, Daniel Kevin, and Jean Lee. “Costs, Earnings, and Employment in the Alaska Saltwater Sport Fishing Charter Sector, 2017.” Alaska Department of Fish and Game, 2019. Web.

Pickett, Jennifer, and Joeri Hofmans. “Stressors, Coping Mechanisms, and Uplifts of Commercial Fishing in Alaska: A Qualitative Approach to Factors Affecting Human Performance in Extreme Environments.” Journal of Human Performance in Extreme Environments, vol. 15, no. 1, 2019, pp. 1–16.

Szymkowiak, Marysia. “Genderizing Fisheries: Assessing Over Thirty Years of Women’s Participation in Alaska Fisheries.” Marine Policy, vol. 115, 2020, pp. 1-13. Elsevier.

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