Alaska Continues to Lead All States in Volume of Seafood Landings
A new federal report on the nation’s fisheries confirms that Alaska, with six billion pounds, led all states in volume of seafood landings in 2015, and that seafood consumption by the average American rose by nearly a pound.
The National Marine Fisheries Service report on Fisheries of the United States rounded out the top five states in harvest volume with Louisiana, 1.1 billion pounds; Virginia, 410.3 million pounds, Washington, 363 million pounds, and Mississippi, 304.1 million pounds.
Dutch Harbor, Alaska, for the 19th consecutive year, was the leading US port in quantity of commercial fishery landings, with 787 million pounds, followed by Kodiak, Alaska, 514 million pounds; Aleutian Islands (Other), Alaska, 467 million pounds; Intracoastal city, Louisiana, 467 million pounds, and Empire-Venice, Louisiana, 428 million pounds.
Other Pacific Northwest ports included among the top 20 for quantity were Alaska Peninsula (Other) 268 million pounds; Naknek, 176 million pounds, Cordova, 162 million pounds; Seward, 94 million pounds; Astoria, Oregon, 92 million pounds; Sitka, 87 million pounds; Ketchikan, Alaska, and Westport, Washington, 84 million pounds; and Petersburg and Bristol Bay (Other), 70 million pounds each.
New Bedford, Massachusetts, also held on to first place in terms of value of seafood delivered, at $322 million, followed by Dutch Harbor, $218 million; Kodiak, $138 million; Aleutian Islands (Other) and Empire-Venice, Louisiana, both $111 million.
Other Alaska ports among the top 20 for value were Naknek, $69 million; Cordova, $65 million; Sitka, $59 million, and Seward, $59 million.
Along the West Coast, meanwhile, a number of fisheries saw declines.
The Pacific sardine fishery closed due to low abundance estimates. The Dungeness crab fishery also saw a closure due to high levels of domoic acid, which can be poisonous to humans. Other species like loligo squid and Pacific hake also saw declines in catches, potentially due to changing ocean conditions.
NMFS noted that the estimated domestic per capita consumption of fish and shellfish in 2015 was 15.5 pounds, an increase of 0.9 pounds from the 14.6 pounds per capita consumed in 2014.
“Fishing and seafood is big business for our country,” said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries. “Marine and coastal fisheries contribute billions of dollars to the national economy, support 1.8 million jobs, and keep our ports and waterways open for business.
“Thanks to longstanding legislation and continued innovation in fisheries science and management, we are seeing real returns on our nation’s efforts to end overfishing and make our fisheries more sustainable.”
American consumers spent an estimated $96 billion for fish products in 2015, including $64.8 billion at restaurants, carry-out and catering services, $31 billion in retail sales for home consumption, and $199.2 million for industrial fish products.