Seafood Processor Employment


Ecological | Economic | Social | Governance

Have economic and social effects on local communities changed?

Indicator: Seafood Processor Employment

This indicator measures changes in seafood processor employment over time as a component of local community effects and with the implementation of the catch share program.


No data are available for years during the Shorebased IFQ Program, so it is unknown at this time what the effects on seafood processors may be along the West Coast. Qualitative data from the California Department of Fish and Game suggest that changes in species mix during the catch share program has affected the amount and intensity of seafood processing labor needed in recent years for at least some communities.

Baseline Period and Catch Share Program

No final data are currently available for the baseline or the catch share program period for the indicator. Limited data on seafood processing employment and production hours are being collected by the NMFS Northwest Fisheries Science Center’s Economic Data Collection (EDC) program for the years 2009 to the present; however, final survey results are not yet available. Information from the California Department of Fish and Game suggests that a recent shift from Pacific whiting to sablefish under catch shares has resulted in decreased processing activity in some California ports since Pacific whiting is a high-volume fishery and relatively labor intensive to process compared to other species.

Data Gaps and Limitations

Final data are not available for this indicator. However, preliminary discussions regarding the data have revealed that the baseline information collected by the Northwest Fisheries Science Center’s EDC program does not go back through the entirety of the baseline period, but instead begins in 2009. In 2009 and 2010, only companies that processed groundfish or whiting provided data. In 2011, all companies, regardless of what they processed, provided data. Thus, the total number of processors used to calculate the mean and median shifted from 2009-2010 to 2011. It is expected that future EDC program documents will take this into account and that methods will be refined over time.

Information Sources

California Department of Fish and Game. 2013. Status of the Fisheries Report 2011. Groundfish Highlight: Update on the New Federal Individual Fishery Quota Program. Monterey, CA. Available online:

Download a printer-friendly version of this page:

Seafood Processor Employment (pdf) – February 2015 (minor editorial revisions)

Archive of previous versions:

Seafood Processor Employment (pdf) – September 2013 (initial release)

Updated: February 2, 2015