In Cod (And Crab!) We Trust – Oregon’s Seafood Processing Industry

In 2021, Oregon had 34 employers and 1,084 employees turning slimy fish and armored crustaceans into succulent seafood ready for cooking and eating. This was fewer employees than in recent years, though the number of employers has been pretty steady.

Commercial fishers landed about 318 million pounds of fish and shellfish in Oregon in 2021, about 75 pounds per Oregonian. Nearly 60% of this volume consisted of whiting, mostly used to make surimi. Total harvests had a dockside value of $206 million, an increase of 29% from the year before. Fishermen sold a small portion of the harvest off their vessels or at markets directly to consumers. Most, however, was sold to processors and buyers then exported or sold to wholesalers, retailers, restaurants and consumers.

The seafood processing industry – part of the manufacturing sector – includes businesses that clean, freeze, can, smoke, salt, and dry seafood. It also includes firms that shuck and pack shellfish. Although Oregon currently doesn’t have any, it also would include processor ships that do these operations at sea. Except for certain fishermen licensed to sell fresh fish from their boats, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife requires commercial fishers to sell their harvest to licensed wholesale fish dealers or licensed fish buyers. Many of these dealers and buyers are also processors.

To read the rest of the story, please go to: State of Oregon Employment Department