US - 2015 was another above-average year for fishing and seafood consumption, with the average American adding nearly an extra pound of seafood to their diet, according to the annual Fisheries of the United States report released today by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).
Across the nation, US fishermen landed 9.7 billion pounds of fish and shellfish valued at $5.2 billion, a volume and value similar to recent years.
By volume, the nation's largest commercial fishery remains Alaska (walleye) pollock, which had landings of 3.3 billion pounds (up 4 per cent from last year), trailed by Atlantic and Gulf menhaden, which accounted for 1.6 billion pounds (up 29 per cent).
"Fishing and seafood is big business for our country. 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," said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries.
The report shows that for the 19th consecutive year, the Alaska port of Dutch Harbor led the nation with the highest amount of seafood landed - 787 million pounds, valued at $218 million. New Bedford, Massachusetts, had the highest valued catch from one port - $322 million for 124 million pounds, due mostly to the high price sea scallops fetch on the market, which accounted for more than 76 per cent of this value.
Along the West Coast, however, a number of fisheries experienced declines. The Pacific sardine fishery was 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 (whiting) also saw declines in catches, potentially due to changing ocean conditions.
The report also shows that the average American ate 15.5 pounds of fish and shellfish in 2015, a 0.9 pound increase from last year.
Aquaculture figures for 2015 are not yet available, but for perspective, the US aquaculture industry, whose top-produced marine species include oysters, clams, and Atlantic salmon, generated 608 million pounds of seafood valued at $1.3 billion in 2014. This equates to 20 per cent of the value and 6 per cent of the volume of total US production of fishery products.
You can view the full report by clicking here.
TheFishSite News Desk