Changes in the size distribution of Alaskan fisheries were analyzed with special regard to employment and risk exposure. The types analyzed were the shellfish (king, tanner, and Dungeness crabs, and shrimp), salmon, and groundfish (black cod, pollock, and halibut) fisheries, all of which had high fatalities reported. Statewide shellfish industry employment tended to rise from 1977 to 1982, fall until the mid 1980s, and then recover. The Bristol Bay king crab fishery peaked in 1980 to 1981, and collapsed in 1983/1984. This was compensated by a rise in the opilio tanner crab fishery in the Bering Sea. In 1980, about 1,400 person years of employment in Alaska was in the shellfish industry, with about 700 in Western Alaska. In 1990, the corresponding figures were 1,200 and 750. The salmon fisheries grew in the 1970s. Continuing upward trends were seen in the numbers of persons employed in the set gillnet and drift gillnet fisheries during the 1980s, with a decline in troll fisheries since 1978. Several fisheries recorded declines in 1989 due to the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Groundfisheries showed a stable upward trend in employment in the late 1970s and early 1980s. After 1987 large increases in the number of permits were recorded (from 92 in 1986 to 353 in 1990). Production also increased. The expansion in numbers of person years in halibut fishery was especially striking. Estimates of the numbers of separate motherships, factory trawlers, and freezer longliners that reported harvests in 1990 were summarized. Average crew sizes in factory trawlers was 50, yielding 2.579 person years of employment. Corresponding figures for freezer longliners were 20 and 433 person years. Motherships employed 150 persons, and provided 775 person years of employment. Joint venture operations peaked in 1987, but have not operated since 1990.
Proceedings of the National Fishing Industry Safety and Health Workshop, Anchorage, Alaska, October 9-11, 1992