News Flash


Posted on: April 28, 2020

New Survey Examines Economic Impacts of COVID-19 on Whatcom County’s Commercial Fishing Industry

Local economic development officials are urging commercial fishing businesses to respond to an economic impact survey being conducted by Whatcom Unified Command’s Economic Impact Taskforce, led by the Port’s Regional Economic Partnership, in coordination with the Working Waterfront Coalition of Whatcom County.

The survey is an early attempt to capture the effects of COVID-19 on the commercial fishing industry in Whatcom County. The survey will inform strategies for economic recovery, help identify how much state and federal recovery aid will be needed, and give elected officials insight into the unique problems caused by COVID-19 on the seasonal commercial fishing industry.

Commercial fishing has a significant impact on Whatcom County’s economy with over 2,500 direct and induced jobs earning an estimated $94.5 million in wages in salaries. Commercial fishing is the foundation of Whatcom County’s broader working waterfront that includes over 6,000 jobs created or supported by marine trades. 

“Commercial fishing, tendering, and processing are critical to food security, our local economy in Whatcom County, and our regional economy on the West Coast and Alaska” said Port Economic Development Director Don Goldberg. “We hope to use the information collected to inform state and local leaders and decision makers, as well as to design and influence economic relief and recovery efforts to support this crucial industry and the jobs associated with it.”

The commercial fishing industry is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 related restrictions because most fish are caught during the summer and the fishing season has limited openings. 

“Whatcom County’s maritime sector accounts for 7% of our workforce” said President of Working Waterfront Coalition of Whatcom County Jim Kyle. “With the pandemic-related collapse of international markets and the food service industry, our seafood producers are being severely impacted. Other maritime businesses, while deemed essential workers, are also being hit hard. The Working Waterfront Coalition of Whatcom County represents 120 maritime companies, and we are working to inform all of them about assistance programs. For commercial fishing, tendering, and processing companies, completion of these surveys will provide data that will facilitate appropriate support. Every fishing season is an unpredictable challenge, this one more than ever.”

The anonymous, voluntary survey will provide a comprehensive assessment of COVID-19 related economic impacts to the commercial fishing industry with business owners asked to select a survey most relevant to their specific operations – fishing, tendering, or processing.

  1. Commercial fishing survey:
  2. Tendering survey:
  3. Seafood processing survey:

Survey responses are due by May 10, 2020.

The commercial fishing survey is the third major survey released by the Economic Development Taskforce.  The Taskforce recently distributed an economic impact survey specific to Whatcom County’s agricultural sector and is also evaluating data gathered from 765 responses to a general economic impact survey of county businesses.

“It’s important for state and federal officials to have a clear understanding of the widespread economic impacts of this event” said Goldberg. 

Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in Home

Port and Whatcom PUD Broadband Update

Posted on: October 10, 2023

Port Acquires Complex to Support Industry

Posted on: February 28, 2023

Port Releases 2023 Final Strategic Budget

Posted on: November 17, 2022

31st Annual Holiday Port Wrap Up

Posted on: December 10, 2021

Port Releases 2022 Final Strategic Budget

Posted on: November 18, 2021

Marine Life Center to Reopen March 1

Posted on: February 19, 2021

Salish Sea Scavenger Hunt

Posted on: July 29, 2020

29th Annual Holiday Port Wrap Up

Posted on: December 13, 2019

Shoreline Repair Work Notice

Posted on: October 21, 2019

Waterfront Bike Park Temporarily Closed

Posted on: September 15, 2019

Waterfront Bike Park Notice

Posted on: September 13, 2019

Fourth of July Celebration

Posted on: June 25, 2019

Port Seeks Native Artwork Proposals

Posted on: June 20, 2019

Port Seeks Waterfront Event Proposals

Posted on: February 1, 2019

New Waterfront Road Open to Public

Posted on: January 22, 2019

Port to Apply for Rural Broadband Funding

Posted on: September 17, 2018

Port Earns Clean Audit

Posted on: June 22, 2018

Port Updates Mission Statement

Posted on: December 5, 2017

Port Earns Clean Audit from State

Posted on: June 21, 2017

Port Appoints New Manager of Marinas

Posted on: January 13, 2017

Waterfront Redevelopment Art Project

Posted on: January 13, 2017

Port Commission Selects 2017 Officers

Posted on: January 3, 2017

Port Commission Selects 2016 Officers

Posted on: January 6, 2016

Port Appoints Director of Aviation

Posted on: October 19, 2015