Southeast Alaska’s Maritime sector is a vibrant spectrum of businesses and organizations dependent on ocean related commerce. A top priority of Southeast Conference is to enhance the efficiency and capacity of the Southeast Alaska maritime sector, in order to support a wide array of existing and emerging economic activity dependent upon our ocean.
Nearly every element of our economy is intermingled with the maritime economy. It is the region’s largest sector outside of government; and it draws from nearly every element of the workforce. Just over one-quarter of all Southeast Alaska wages are directly earned through ocean related employment.
Our economic dependence on the ocean extends beyond direct employment and wages. Currently we import a billion and a half pounds of commodities each year into our region on barges. A million visitors come to Southeast Alaska on 500 cruise ship voyages in the summer, creating their own micro economy of jewelry stores, eateries and excursions. The heart of our seafood industry is the flotilla of 3,000 commercial fishing vessels home-ported in the region. Freight ships move logs and freshly mined ore to markets in the south. Our two public ferry systems provide affordable transportation between communities, increasing access to medical care and camaraderie between regional high schools. We are also maritime manufacturers. We can build 500-foot-long ships, breathtaking sea otter scarfs, and we develop new ocean products that are in turn shipped all over the world.
The Future of the Maritime economy is promising as well. High demand in ship building and repair presents great opportunities for growth, new initiatives in aquaculture and mariculture are currently underway that have the potential to become billion dollar industries.
SEC ONGOING MARITIME OBJECTIVES
The Maritime Economy of Southeast Alaska
This publication quantifies Southeast Alaska’s maritime economy. Just over one-quarter of all Southeast Alaska wages are directly earned through ocean related employment in 2012. Taken together the businesses and government agencies that are directly tied to the ocean comprise Southeast Alaska’s largest economic sector.
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