Pacific County’s Marine Industry
As the major shellfish production and processing center on the Washington coast, Pacific County’s economy includes a substantial marine resources component. The commercial fishing industry, based primarily in Ilwaco and Chinook, includes over 200 vessels and nearly 1300 fishermen, with annual landings exceeding 21 million pounds of fish and shellfish with an ex-vessel value of nearly $15 million. Dungeness crab, Pacific pink shrimp, albacore tuna, and bottomfish production are the major components of the commercial fishery, generating over $25 million in personal income, and over a thousand jobs to the county’s economy. Many fishermen also participate in the distant water fisheries in Alaska, adding an additional $21 million in county personal income contributions.
Pacific County is also home to the largest shellfish culture industry on the west coast, with nearly 50 million pounds of oysters and clams produced each year, with a wholesale value exceeding $10 million. The industry generates over $12 million in personal income, and provides nearly 600 jobs to the local economy annually. In addition, the charter boat industry in Ilwaco includes over 30 vessels, offering sport fishing and whale watching trips for local residents and outside visitors. Eight seafood processing plants, and fifteen seafood retailers provide seafood products to area distributors and consumers.