Fishing Industry Economic Activity Trends

(Lincoln County, Ore) A comprehensive look at fishing's place in Lincoln County's economy reveals a growing impact on the area's earned income through 2019.

The Resource Group, LLC, of Corvallis, took a deep dive into the financial indicators surrounding both commercial and recreational fishing, as well as related and connected activities, and produced a clear picture of the pre-pandemic seafood scene.

"Fishing Industry Economic Activity Trends in the Newport, Oregon Area" was commissioned by the Lincoln County Commission and Midwater Trawlers Cooperative (MTC), which represents 29 vessels, most of which are homeported in Newport. The effort was viewed as an update to an economic study performed by the same firm in 2012, which focused more broadly on the county economy.

That historic information gave researchers a good point of comparison and what they found was that, in 2012, commercial fishing accounted for 9.9% of Lincoln County's earned income. By 2019, that figure had grown to 14.2%.

Lincoln County Commissioner Kaety Jacobson said an up-to-date look at the industry was what motivated the county to back the study.

"Unlike a lot of other economic data, commercial fishing data can change rapidly from year to year and especially in a five year or more period. Changing regulations, changing ocean conditions, a lost market and many other variables can drastically shift catch rates and price," she explained. "Having updated information allows us and the community to better understand where the industry is at and what it is currently facing," Jacobson noted.

Combining commercial and recreational fishing, the study estimated the total economic contribution to the local economy at $176 million in income in 2019, but there was even more to take into consideration.

Report author Shannon Davis and his team looked at more than just the immediate income of those working directly with fishing boats. They also looked at marine-related businesses and reports from past years that documented the impact of those activities connected to fishing and adjusted them for 2019 dollars. The total related and connected economic contribution is estimated to be an additional $170 million in income.

The combination of fishing industry income and the adjusted figures for related and connected activities income resulted in a total income of $346 million, according to the report. This represents 7,400 jobs, according to Davis.