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    Food and Resource Economics Department

    Food and Resource Economics Department

Economic Contributions of United States Seafood Imports


This study explores the composition and uses of seafood imports throughout the supply chain of seafood products in the United States (U.S.) and estimates the broader economic contributions of these import-supported activities. Currently, the U.S. commercial fishing and aquaculture industries cannot sustainably produce the amount of seafood that U.S. consumers demand (Shamshak et al. 2019). Indeed, most of the seafood products consumed in the U.S. are imported, meaning the product was caught or raised outside U.S. territory. It is estimated that between 65% and 85% of seafood consumed in the U.S. is imported (Gephart et al. 2019; NOAA 2021). 

To understand the extent to which the imported supply supports economic activity within different sectors of the economy, we estimated a multiplier matrix for the U.S. economy, based on a transformed input-output model generated from licensed IMPLAN© data for the U.S. for 2019 (Papadas and Dahl, 1999; Miller and Blair, 2022). Each cell of this matrix communicates the value of output supported within a certain industry because of an increase in the supply of a particular commodity. This is commonly referred to as forward linkage and corresponds to the economic activity supported by a specific increase in the supply of a product that is used by other industries in the economy. 

It is estimated that the 2019 U.S. seafood imports of $22.4 billion support a total of $26.95 billion in direct industry output throughout the U.S. economy. These numbers represent only a portion of the economic activity supported by seafood imports as there are also backward linkages. The industries that produce the $26.9 billion of outputs rely on input goods and services that are produced within the U.S. These purchases of input goods and services, or interindustry dependencies, are referred to in the economic literature as “indirect effects”. In addition, the changes in spending associated with employee household income are referred to as “induced effects”. 

The total contribution of seafood imports to the U.S. economy exceeds $70 billion in industry output or sales revenues, $37 billion in total value added, and $24 billion in labor income. In terms of employment, 512 thousand fulltime and part-time jobs throughout the U.S. economy are supported by U.S. seafood imports, concentrated in the Retail – food and beverage stores sector. Taxes associated with U.S. seafood imports are estimated to be $5.03 billion in total federal tax contributions and $3.9 billion in total state and local tax contributions.

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Economic Contributions US Seafood Imports Report 2022