What is the Maritime Sector?

Alaska’s Maritime Sector is Comprised of Five Industries

Every day thousands of people across the state work in jobs and businesses related to Alaska’s oceans and waterways. Alaska harvests more than 60% of our nation’s seafood; goods, services, and passengers are dependent on water transport; the Alaska Marine Highway System alone carries an average of 312,000 passengers and 98,000 vehicles per year. Alaskans depend on our waters for food, livelihood, and recreation.

The maritime sector represents Alaska’s largest private employer and is a significant economic
force in the state. It represents over 500 firms statewide and a workforce of more than 70,000 people including:

  • Seafood harvesters—over 30,000 permit holders and crew members.
  • Seafood processors—over 25,000 jobs
  • Ship and boat building/repair—over 600 jobs.
  • Research, enhancement, and management– over 2,000 jobs.
  • Marine transportation, freight, other occupations and service industries—over 3,000 jobs.

Maritime employers note that the number of Alaskans who have the necessary skills to fill these positions is too low to meet the demand. An aging or “graying” workforce was identified by many employers.

The maritime workforce shares a number of cross-cutting skills among occupations. Employees with transferable or cross-cutting skills are able to work in a variety of occupations within the maritime sector. Prioritizing the development of these skill sets and weaving them into a variety of programs can result in a more cross-trained, flexible workforce.