A Fisheries-dependent Economy
The economy of Southwest Alaska is substantially dependent upon the harvesting and processing of fishery resources. Commercial, sport and subsistence fishing play a role in virtually every community in the region. Seafood processing takes place in a variety of shore-based plants as well as aboard at-sea processor vessels. Whether on the frenzied floor of Tokyo's famous Tsukiji Fish Market or on your neighbor's backyard grill, wild seafood from Southwest Alaska is the choice of discriminating retailers, chefs and health-conscious consumers.
Emerging sectors such as tourism, minerals, oil and gas, and aerospace also contribute to the cash economy. The development and investment activities of regional and village Native corporations, formed by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, are another unique aspect of the regional economy.
While seafood harvesting and processing form the core of the regional economy, most communities in the region have mixed cash and subsistence economies. Subsistence includes the harvesting of wild foods and resources to provide nutrition, economic, social and cultural benefits.
This section of the web site provides a variety of resources on the economy of Southwest Alaska. For an in-depth analysis of the region, the Southwest Alaska Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) provides a detailed look at the geography, governance, population, workforce, natural resources, infrastructure and economy of the region. Indicators provide a snapshot of current economic conditions in the region. SWAMC also commissions or conducts research to better illustrate the regional economy. See Economic Geography for an analysis of the exchanges and interdependencies between Southwest Alaska and other regions. The Quality of Life Index provides an assessment of the standard of living in Southwest Alaska in comparison to other regions.